The Herdmans Part 4-2

………….. continued from Dec 30

I climbed back into my car and watched him in the rear-view mirror. As he neared rock-throwing distance I put the car in gear and advanced another 50 metres. I assumed he had been running at full speed at this point but he seemed to pick it up another notch. Again, as he neared my car I drove down the road Another 50 or 60 meters; in fact, we continued this routine several times until his mother, older sister and a male, unknown to me, arrived. They actually drove past me and ended up doing a u-turn. By this point Billy had dropped the rock and was nearing my vehicle.

The first one out of the car was the male who immediately confronted me. I asked who he was, Billy’s mother said that it was her daughter’s boyfriend. He tone was hostile and his body language very aggressive. I suspect he was putting on a show for his girlfriend and B.K.’s mother. At this point, it should be mentioned that a few years earlier, teachers were offered the Non-Crisis Intervention workshop. As part of the training, participants were told that when confronted by a hostile parent one should assume a non-threatening posture. We were encouraged to fold our arms, turn our upper body and lean away from the parent. I’m sorry, I don’t cower very well; actually, I did the very opposite. I didn’t want this fellow to think for an instant that he was intimidating me. I dropped my arms to my side, stepped in closer, planted my feet firmly and then leaned in even closer. I knew it was important for me to establish control of the situation (Recall – Billy’s misbehaviours were rooted in his need to assert control over his environment; he had little respect for authority and he was very good at manipulating people – reference: The Herdman’s Part 2). I needed to eliminate the boyfriend’s hostility and didn’t think that a namby-pamby, Tickle Me Elmo posture was going to cut it. The gamble worked – my body language together with the three statements I spoke, in a calm manner, to the boyfriend were enough to convince him to back off.

I then turned my attention to Billy K and his mother. He had his little arms wrapped around her leg and was crying loudly. Mom was crying too. It was obvious to me that Billy was working his magic. He was begging his mother to take him home – pleading that he not have to go to school. I had hoped that the police had arrived by this point but had no assurance that they were even coming. As mother calmed down a bit I explained exactly what had transpired up until that point.

I knew that if Ms. Herdman allowed her son to go home then he will have won the match, and it would have made our relationship even more difficult in the future. He had to accept the fact that his attendance in our school was on our terms, not his. I saw this as an important juncture.

I assured her that he was in no danger at school and that there was no reason for which he shouldn’t be required to return. I then said something for which I had no real authority but, again, i rolled the dice. I informed the gathering that I was returning to the school and that he was to be returned within ten minutes. If he did not appear within that time then he was not to return until, at some future date, I decided that he could return (principal’s do not have the authority to issue such a suspension). Billy needed to know that I was control. I drove back to the school.

I have to admit, part of me wished she didn’t bring him back.

                                                                                                   ………… to be continued


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