Saturday, October 2, 2010

Bikram the Bullied

Bikram is one of my special education students, and is, well, special. He comes to my room for two periods a week, and is always prompt and eager to be there. We usually work on his articulation skills and reading, both areas in which he is very weak.
Bikram is 15 years old and in grade 7, which is not unusual. He has cerebral palsy which has damaged his left side. He walks with a limp, and his left arm is usually bent, his hand twisted, and his fingers gnarled. He is known as a bully at school, and a fighter, but I have never seen this. When I have asked him about his reputation, he always tells me that the other kids tease him, and yes, he strikes out at them. This results in a fight, and he usually gets blamed.
Last week, Bikram came to my room a bit late, and sobbing. It made me very sad to see him so upset. At first he couldn’t speak, because he was crying so hard, but then he explained that it was the usual: he was being teased, he hit someone, but this time two grade 8 boys beat him. I asked if he was hurt, but it seemed that it was his feelings that were more hurt. I offered to go and speak to the other boys, but he was afraid that he would get in trouble if I did. I have spoken to the staff on several occasions about Bikram being bullied, but the staff seems to think he is to blame.
Bikram was too upset to focus on reading, so it was a good opportunity to do some dictated writing instead. I acted as his secretary (his writing skills are very poor) and told him to tell me again the story of what had happened. Although he didn’t touch on the events of the day at all, I think perhaps it shows the depth of his sadness –that he had been so happy when he first came to our school, and now he didn’t feel like he had a friend. This is the story he told me:

Picnic with My Friends

When I was coming for the first time in this school I was very happy because I made many friends. One day my friend told to us, “We have to go to picnic.” When we finished eating the picnic we went to our own house. Next time friend told to go to Gangola to swim. When we are reached at Gangola we were very happy and we had to undress and swim. After we finished the swimming we ate the lunch and friend told to go home. When we were walking to the home suddenly we saw a snake and my friend killed it.
~Bikram Rai

I have a computer in my room now, so I taught Bikram how to use it to type his story. He caught on very quickly, and with some practice even managed to hit the shift key with one finger of his gnarled hand to make capital letters. I told him he looked like a “dasho” working in his office, and he was very pleased. When I printed out his story, he was very proud, and eager to do more next time.

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