Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Five-Year Old Truant

This is Merrick's version of events: "My teachers were missing. Nobody wanted to go to school. We were supposed to look for the teachers."

This is the adult version, patched together by all the players.

Merrick gets dropped off at about 8:45. His brother and sister walk him into the building but he trots off on his own to his classroom.

Usually, Holly the gym teacher is monitoring hallway activity. Yesterday, Holly was gone.

Turns out, so were both of Merrick's teachers--the classroom teacher and the aide. Not there.

When that five-year old peeked into his classroom, he did not see certified substitute teachers, district background checks in hand. He saw strangers.

So he bolted.

At approximately 9:40, a mother (not the Matron) walking up to JJ Hill Montessori Elementary noticed a five-year old boy standing outside of the building. She knew his name because she knows his mother.

Mother: "Merrick! What are you doing out here?"

Merrick: "Nothing."

Because when you're five, articulating your deep fear of strangers, confusion, and general reluctance to attend school anyway is just, difficult.

So the Mother brings Merrick into the building but he refuses to allow her to walk him back to the classroom. So she lets him trot off down the hallway, only to discover -- a few minutes later--that he has returned to his post outside of the building.

The Mother hauls that child back in and brings him to the office. One of the regular aides, a kindly older woman whom Merrick knows well, offers to go into the classroom with him for awhile.

So Merrick finishes out the day with his own personal security guard.

When the Matron came to school to pick up her offspring, the Mother saw her and gave her the scoop. So did the office staff. Even as the Matron sees the humor, she now fully appreciates the high-tech, foolproof security system her children's school offers: other parents.

The Matron admits to getting a little choked up, thinking of her child, outside and unmonitored and unnoticed. She felt inordinately grateful to her friend, the Mother. In fact, she nearly wept at her feet.

The Matron and the Mother were standing together when Merrick appeared. He gave the Matron a hug. He gave the Mother a Look that would turn Medusa to stone. A Look so dark, so knowing, so suspicious, and so ferocious that the Matron and the Mother were compelled to later take note, together, of the Look.

Today, Merrick's classroom teacher will be gone again. Thankfully, Miss Debbie the aide has returned.

The Matron? She plans to telephone the school at about 9:15 to check on her son's status. Or quit her job and stand guard at the front door.


Heather said...

Aww. How scary for him!

laurie said...

oh what a sweetheart Merrick is!

and maybe the school should take into consideration that kids have "don't talk to strangers" drummed into them....and they should alert the parents when strangers take over the classroom?

Another Mary said...


Magpie said...

Damn. That's kind of awful.

liv said...

what a plucky little fellow you are raising! i'm so glad he's safe.

K. said...

That is just precious and tragic both, poor little guy.

It takes a village to raise a child - 1
Stranger Danger - 0

kate5kiwis said...

yeah, that is kind of freaky.
thank God/Buddha/Allah/Cher that everything turned out ok huh X