The players of today's drama are GIRL and BOY.

GIRL has anxiety really bad. She often skips my class. She inevitably skips other classes. Every day, she is literally dragged into the room by two of her friends, or she is personally dropped off by the disciplinary counselor (who is also a student adviser). I mean dragged; her friends pull her into the room and to her chair, while she's whimpering "no no no no no." Sometimes, she latches onto the doorway and refuses and I'll have to coax her into the room like a frightened cat.

Once she's in class, though, she's really chill, as though the past couple minutes of struggle never happened. She can't read aloud unless you give her a heads up that you're going to pick her, and she hates when seats are changed because that means dealing with new people. There are, like, three or four safe students she feels okay sitting by, so if I ever move kids around, I have to take that into account. She's got straight Fs because of missed work/attendance, even in my classes. I asked her once why she never goes to her other classes.

Her: I don't like them.

Me: Then why do you come to this class?

Her: I like this class.

You coulda fooled me, kiddo.


BOY is a big guy. He's one of those sophomores who've already got the full facial hair going, and he's chunky with a height of 5'10, 5'11. He's also simultaneously shy, and a complete class clown, but one of those class clowns who never learned how to stop once they were on a roll. He sits by himself in the back table because other kids can't work with him. If they're his friends, their collective behavior goes to shit; he peacocks, and they feed into it by goofing off themselves. If the kids near him aren't his friends, they either get so frustrated with him they start arguing (and fighting), or they quietly ask me to move them somewhere else.

One of his favorite gags is to pretend he doesn't know how to read when it's his turn to read aloud. He'll mispronounce words on purpose, ask me what every single word is, or read agonizingly slow until the other kids yell at him to go faster. His other favorite gag is to call students during quiet times in class to make their phones go off and break the silence. He's gotten into trouble several times for messing around with phones, either just being distracted by it, or for bugging other kids.

I've talked to his mom before, and she is one of those serious mamas who take her kid's behavior very seriously. Last time he was a snot and I called her, he was well behaved for a month straight.


The setting is YESTERDAY and TODAY. Yesterday:

    GIRL: Ms. Phronias, can I talk to you outside?
    Me: Sure.
*we go outside*
    GIRL: I don't like being a snitch, but I'm really annoyed. BOY has been calling me nonstop for the past two days, and I'm tired of having to keep putting my phone on silent.
    *whips out phone*
    *Shows me a call history of dozens and dozens of calls from the same number*
    Me: Oof. yeah, that's bullshit. Like, if you wanted, you could get him in major trouble for that. I'll call his mom. I might let DISCIPLINARY COUNSELOR know too, okay?
    GIRL: Okay.
*we return to class*
    Me (in an email to the counselor): Hey, this is the situation. Do I just start calling moms, or is there another step?
    COUNSELOR: Let me meet with the kids first to get the whole thing.
    Me: Right-O.
    COUNSELOR: *calls* Hey, I have GIRL here and I'm sending her back to class. If BOY takes his phone out today, send him over.
    Me: Gotcha.
    BOY: *inevitably brings out his phone. I confiscate it and tell him to go see the counselor.*
*A short time later, I recieve an email*
    COUNSELOR: Hey, has BOY ever taken out his phone in class?
    Me: Constantly. He's in trouble regularly for using his phone.
    COUNSELOR: Right. Okay.

*Time passes. BOY returns looking like a whipped dog. Says nothing. Quietly does his work.*

*A short time later, I receive another email*

    COUNSELOR: I called mom and let her know what was going on. I informed them both that if this happens again, PRINCIPAL and VICE PRINCIPAL will be notified.

* * * * *

So, here's the kind of funny thing. Because I know both of these kids, through the entire situation, it felt very much like, "Augh, the kids are bugging each other again. Boy is being a dick to Girl, he's fucking around with phones again." with the same kind of good-natured frustration you get when dealing with misbehaving puppies.

It wasn't until I actually explained the situation to someone else that it hit me, "Oh, no, this is legit harassment isn't it?" Like. When you say it out loud, "Teen Boy Calls Teen Girl 50 Times Intentionally To Upset Her"-- that's some legit restraining order shit.

I feel like there's a learning moment here for me. Something about taking a step back from "these are my students acting stupid" to the mindset of "these are teenagers doing potentially serious things," but I'm too tired right now to properly parse it out.