Get out of my kitchen, or I’ll slit your throat open

31 Dec

It was an ordinary day, the students were their usual challenging selves. There was nothing out of the ordinary, but this was going to be a day I would never ever forget.

I had a free lesson. I was busy doing some paperwork and went into the office to get something right at the moment the receptionist was answering the phone. She told me that the call was for the cookery teacher, it was quite important, so could I go and relieve him in the kitchen for a moment? He only had one student and they were usually fine.

Sure, I thought, seemed reasonable enough. I walked into the kitchen and explained he had an important call. The student seemed to have things under control chopping vegetables so I would simply supervise so he wasn’t left in the room on is own while the teacher answered the phone. This was usual safeguarding policy.

As soon as the teacher left, leaving the classroom door wedged open, the student immediately changed mood, picked up the knife he had been chopping with and hurled himself towards me. With the knife held at my throat and his face inches from mine he declared

If you don’t get out of my kitchen, I’ll slit your throat open

I can say I have never been in such a threatening position before, but a request like that doesn’t have to be spoken to me twice, so left immediately. I told the office they had better get a member of staff into that room quick sharp and I walked out the front door. I had no idea where thought I was walking to, just marched off up the road, leaving all my belongings, car keys, everything behind in the school.

I needed to put distance between me at the school, the student, the whole situation. I was terrified, angry, traumatised, upset, so many emotions that I couldn’t control the crying that started almost immediately. Plus, I was due to teach him in less than an hour, how on earth would I do that?
I thought we would never come back from that one.

The head teacher sent someone after me, to mostly check that I was ok. We talked, cried, shouted it all out. The staff member eventually managed to persuade me to return to the school.

With a huge line ruled under it (for now) the student came to my lesson, everything was calm and civil, and we both made it to the end of the day.

I have to say I did not agree with the school’s decision to deal with it later, after school at which point they involved the appropriate people, but that was the situation I was presented with and had to deal with at the time. 

In fact he went on to get a good qualification in expressive arts, and successfully made it to the end of his school career.

Still a memory that will never leave me though. I hope he didn’t do that kind of thing again to anyone else, and perhaps end up in prison. I hope the systems, education and organisations involved kept him on a positive path, rather than one of crime, like some of the students in this particular school setting ended up taking. 

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8 Responses to “Get out of my kitchen, or I’ll slit your throat open”

  1. Beyond Back Creek December 31, 2012 at 20:00 #

    Your post really resonated with me. I have spent the past 4+ years trying to recover from an injury inflicted by a patient. Those of us who work with ‘special needs’ people are not considered heros, if my experiences with getting medical help vs. uniformed personnel are any indication. But we are the day-to-day caregivers, educators, and influences for so many who have no other options. Sadly, being abused physically or verbally, by our clients and their families is considered part of the job. I am so glad that you came out of this situation intact. More attention needs to be given to the care-givers safety, as well as to the happiness of the client. I am hoping you will be able to work in a safe place in 2013. Wishing you a New Year of health and peace!

    • Be1ngSpec1al (@Be1ngSpec1al) December 31, 2012 at 20:18 #

      You are absolutely right. I do hope you recover from your injury ok. It is sometimes a task with little thanks, but if we didn’t do it, who else would? Sometimes the people we deal with aren’t in the position to say thank you themselves, in my case often till many years later, by which time you have lost contact. I am sure plenty are thankful though. Changing the world one small step at a time?

      • Beyond Back Creek December 31, 2012 at 22:04 #

        So true! I hope if someone I love were in such a dependent situation, that they could get the same kind of care and attention. One small step at a time,and paying if forward!

  2. humanTriumphant January 1, 2013 at 01:42 #

    So am I to understand that “special needs” allows for unpunished/unaddressed criminal behavior? And my baby got kicked out of daycare for a zero-tolerance biting policy? And we wonder what’s wrong…

    • Be1ngSpec1al (@Be1ngSpec1al) January 1, 2013 at 09:07 #

      No I wouldn’t say that at all. This was a school for children who had already been permanently expelled from their schools, and couldn’t get another school place. Law enforcement was usually involved very regularly and the next stop was normally prison. Wherever a child ends up, even prison, they still need to be educated. It was an incredibly tough job. They invariably came from incredibly tough backgrounds too.

      • humanTriumphant January 1, 2013 at 15:00 #

        I applaud you for your efforts. Our prison system, on the whole, doesn’t seem to have the right educational elements to be making a (positive) rehabilitative difference. I guess your final line was what was the most disturbing to me: “I hope he didn’t do that kind of thing again to anyone else, and perhaps end up in prison.” I couldn’t see where this student had been removed from the situation as a line of discipline that day if that student was in your class soon after the incident. But I didn’t quite understand the meaning of this either: “With a huge line ruled under it (for now) the student came to my lesson…”

  3. changeinadvance January 1, 2013 at 03:26 #

    great post. God bless.
    I work with teens and know the drill.

  4. Be1ngSpec1al (@Be1ngSpec1al) January 1, 2013 at 15:50 #

    I apologise for the confusion. I have added a little by way of clarification. Although I didn’t agree with the order that things were dealt with, that was what I was presented with. I removed myself from the situation, as I was standing in the doorway, and in the greatest danger. Consequences were addressed later in the day.

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