It was always something with that kid. Every single day. Not typically anything major, just always something. Putting his hands on someone else. Talking about somebody. Starting drama somewhere. You name it. His teachers were spent long before the last day of school. Long before…

I don’t know how many times I was stopped in the hallway. “Mr. Walker, would it be possible for you to talk to him today?” From there, it was always the same pattern. It would start with blaming someone else, then onto making excuses, and eventually admitting that she was right and he was out of line. But never without putting up a fight. 

There are several kids just like him in every school. Usually, we have no idea what their story really tells about them. We might get a small picture, but can we ever really know any more? It seems like the longer time goes on, the less we can really tell about the world that our kids are living in. I never really had him picked out as one who might have home challenges. But dysfunction at home doesn’t always present itself in the form of dirty clothes, poor hygiene, lack of attentiveness to school work, or any other recognizable “sad situation” that our students are faced with every day. 

I guess that is why I was shocked when I stepped on that bus to say, “Goodbye” today, the last day of school. I greeted the bus driver and turned to face the students to see him sitting there, staring out the window at all the teachers lined up to send them off, and a tear rolling down his cheek. 

“Hey dude. What’s wrong?” 

“I don't want school to end,” was the reply that came back across that bus seat. And there was no doubt in that moment, he really didn’t want school to end. 

I don’t know the rest of the story. I may not ever. Maybe it’s stability, or peace, or feeling loved. Or maybe it’s those two teachers, or support staff that always made time for him in the hallway, or the coaches that pour their heart and soul into making PE such a special experience. Or maybe just the combination of it all. There is no telling what exactly it is. But I do know this, unfortunately for more and more kids, school is the place where they find peace, joy, and love. School is the place that is life-giving. School is the place they cry when they leave. 

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” And all this time people thought they took God out of schools.

Adam Walker