Sometimes boys are aggressive because they are frustrated or because they want to win. Sometimes they are just angry and can’t find another way to express that feeling. And some may behave aggressively, but they’re not aggressive all the time.
Schools need to find ways to resolve aggression and conflicts that do not result in long-term school absences. Suspension and expulsion often provide troubled kids exactly what they do not need: an extended, unsupervised hiatus from school that increases their risk of engaging in risky behaviors.
“Seth is someone that I look forward to seeing everyday, but that was not always the case for everyone here at Wilder Middle,” says CIS Site Coordinator Rachel Klein.
Last year, Seth received seven referrals, four for fighting. He was suspended a total of ten days and served an additional eight in-school-suspension days. Enrolled in a program at school that is an alternative to expulsion, Seth said, “I got into a lot of fights and I argued with my teachers tons.”
Rachel says, “A teacher came to me and said he needs a male role model in his life. I placed an ad on Volunteer Match and only got one reply. One reply was all we needed.”
A volunteer stepped up and met with Seth weekly for the remainder of the school year.
That first connection with his mentor was a hit. They met each week to talk about life while building a rocket. His mentor served as Seth’s male representative for our Donuts with Dad’s event.
Combined with regular meetings with Rachel, Seth began to make a change. Teachers took note of measurable gains, including improvements in behavior and day-to-day attitude. Seth still visits Rachel’s office everyday but not because of bad behavior. This year they see each every day to check-in and say hello. “I don’t know where he’d be without the connection to CIS – probably not at Wilder,” says Rachel.
According to Seth, “My grades have come back up, I have made some friends and I think things are going good. My relationship with my mom has gotten a lot better. She tells me a lot that she is proud of me. One night she woke me up and said ‘I love you’. This is a lot better life.”