Jace is six. Actually, he's six and a half, which is apparently when a little hellion comes out every now and then. Now, for Jace that usually means taking things too far. He and Gracie and playing and he gets a little rough and she cries. Jace is being a horse for Tyler to ride on and bucks a little high and Tyler cries. You know, that sort of thing . A pretty tame hellion, I admit, but it's starting.
Then last Friday, out of the blue, we get a phone call from the Assistant Principal at Jace's school. He was upset with the way another boy adjusted the radio antenna and spit in his face. The other boy pushed Jace. Jace picked up a pencil and tried to stab him in the neck. Thankfully, Jace was blocked and no one was hurt.
But, yeah...our jaws were on the floor too. We were shocked, angry, worried, frightened. What the heck had happened to our Jace. He'd never been outwardly violent before (and I hope he never is again). But this had happened. So, the school's punishment for any sort of fighting is the Opportunity Room. In my day we called it in-school suspension...and my first grader got tossed in it!
So, today was the big day in the Opportunity Room. This morning on the way to school I gave him a few things to consider while he was in there, assuming he'd have a chance to just think about his actions between all the homework I figured he'd be working on. Without scaring the bejesus out of him I tried to impress upon the seriousness of having to spend a whole day secluded in this room.
I wondered about his experience there all day. When I got to school to pick him up, I waited nervously. Out he bounded with a trophy in his hand! Yes, a trophy.
So, calmly I asked him what the trophy was for. Jace wrote an essay after Thanksgiving break that was entered in a contest for young Georgia authors. He won - 1st place for first graders. This morning he was given the trophy on the closed circuit TV at the school...then he went to the Opportunity Room.
Even though that is hard to swallow, it gets better. After quietly praising Jace for his award I asked how his day was.
"The Opportunity Room wasn't as bad as you thought."
"Why? Didn't you have to do work?"
"Yeah, I had a little work. But when that was done I got to read the rest of the day."
If you don't know Jace...he loves to read. He gets six 3rd or 4th grade level books each week from the library. He reads them at least twice before we go back the next week.
So, all in all, on the day Jace was supposed to be taking time to consider the extremely poor choices he made...he got to spend a relaxing day reading, coloring, and getting a trophy. Hopefully, despite the efforts of the school, the message sunk in and we won't be visiting Jace in the Big House some day. Although if he does end up locked up, he's apparently good with a shank.