They're Sleeping in Class!

They're Sleeping in Class!


During the years I taught in Quinton Township School, I had occasion to observe quite a few eye-opening things. This reminds me of an incident during the 1972-73 school year. Since we were a sending district and because our township was fairly long and wide, many students arrived about 45 minutes before the start of classes. These same students left in the afternoon about 45 minutes after the end of school. A better system was probably available, but would require a couple more buses and bus routes which, for the economics of the town was prohibitive.

Of course, this meant that each teacher was required to stand bus duty one day out of ten. There were two on duty, one on the left side with the kids up to 4th grade and the other on the right with the 5th-8th graders. Many of the teachers were older women, who didn't like the cold (or just standing around for an hour and a half extra each day.

Since I was young and in need of extra cash, I started pulling duty for several teachers for $5 per day. This amounted to about an extra $50-$60 per month {this is when that would pay for electricity, telephone and fuel oil for a month}.

In the upper grades in the above mentioned school year, we started noticing a small group of 7th grade boys falling asleep each morning during class. They were not missing breakfast, so we were a bit perplexed as to the cause. About the same time, I started to notice this same small knot of boys gathering together on the playground each morning. So, I began to watch them closely and they seemed to gather once a certain boy got off the bus each morning. 

Then the final clue came one afternoon when I noticed the ringleader throwing away trash. Since it wasn't in his nature to be concerned for the environment, I decided to check the trash can after all the buses left. Lo and behold, an empty whiskey bottle! I had cracked the case! I collected it for later evidence and since I was on duty again the next morning decided on a plan of action.

As the young man got off the bus, (with another teacher present) I stopped him and asked him to open his coat. Yep, a quart of Canadian Club in a paper sack, so I confiscated it. All day long, he kept demanding his property back, which all of us teachers thought was quite amusing. That night, I went to his home to discuss with his parents before he got home.

They were adamant that he would not do such a thing and that I was picking on him because he and his friends were black. I responded to the racial charge first, stating, "You know that I do not treat students unequally, and so do the students". (I had been there six years and was noted for my fairness).

Then I said, if you believe he didn't do it, just check your liquor cabinet. The boy's mother went to a hutch and opened the bottom and exclaimed "OMG!". They apologized and I went on my way. Amazingly, the students stopped falling asleep in class and their behavior improved dramatically, but they never really liked me after that!

Davdan @ 2008-2018