Another Throw Away

Bradley hated being in the classroom. He knew he did not belong here but where else were they going to put him? He was fifteen, large for his age and in the sixth grade. But even here the math meant nothing and he could not read a page in any of his text books. When they left him alone in the study hall he could sometimes find a book that he could read, he knew that they were for second and third graders but he knew most of the words and they sounded nice as he ran them through his head and over his tongue.

But today would be no different than a hundred other days, shouts, name calling, teasing, he was always the blunt of any joke and he was always the one the teacher blamed for any problem in her class. He had heard her say a dozen times if she could get him out of her room she would have a perfect job.

I met Bradley a few weeks later in a judge’s office, there were school people there, child services and an attorney assigned to represent him and in the corner his screaming mother. The judge explained to everyone that he had one last proposal and wanted them to hear him out. He introduced me and said that I was willing to take Bradley into the care of the children’s home if his mother would assign custody to us. If she were unwilling to do that he would place Bradley into the custody of Children’s Services. They asked me several question and then asked if I could outline a plan for Bradley. I answered their questions, explained that the Social Workers with me and done all the work on the plan and we would change it from time to time to meet Bradley’s needs.  Then I introduced myself to Bradley and told him of the plans. He made little response, the judge was not impressed but said he would give it thirty days and then he wanted us all back in the room for an update.

We found a special school for Bradley where what he did well he could work on and what he did not know he would be taught one on one. The first thirty day meeting went well, maybe that was a stretch, but we got another thirty and then another. At the end of nine months Bradley was reading on a sixth grade level doing math at about the same pace and more important than any of those things he had smiles on his face and a faint sound of joy in his voice.  

He never made the deans list, never received a scholarship for grades, and with a lot of pushing and pulling made it across the finish line of high school. When I hugged him at graduation he handed me his diploma and said, “Here Mr. Ivan you should have this because if you had not loved me I would not be here.” I was surprised for he had said very little to me in all the years and never expressed thanksgiving. I smiled, wiped away the tears and told him that all of us were very proud of him and for him to hang it on his wall. I got too much credit, for it was the teachers, team of lady social workers, and a hard working, much forgiving, ever loving foster family that had made it possible. Bradley is serving his country, I received a card from him last year it said, Merry Christmas and Thank You.  Not bad, not bad at all.


Published in: on June 2, 2014 at 12:05 am  Leave a Comment  

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