Since I don’t remember the student’s name and will not spend the time to search my files to find it, I will call him Macario because he was a happy boy of 14 when I knew him.
Macario was in my fourth period class before lunch and he wasn’t a good student and seldom did his work but he was a good person and someone easy to like and almost impossible to get angry at.
I also knew his girlfriend, who I will call Janice, since she was in my fifth period class after lunch. The couple often came to my class at lunch when my high school journalism students were working. The chess club also met there to play chess and the high school environmental club met there once a month to plan hikes and projects.
One would think that spending lunch with friends outside would be preferable to a teen.
If you knew the high school where I taught and the gang culture that dominated it, it made sense that good kids would want to find a sanctuary from the potential violence. The gang culture then was large enough that it brought an armed sheriff’s deputy to campus daily, who sat in his squad car in the mall where most of the kids ate lunch and where all the gang bangers could see that shotgun attached to the dash.
The high school also had an unarmed squad of campus police officers.
However, getting Macario to read or do homework was a challenge and 75% of the way through the school year, I wasn’t having much success beyond the minimum necessary to keep his girlfriend from leaving him.
Macario wasn’t interested in school work or reading books, but he was always in a good mood and happy, which is what made me suspicious something happened the one morning he came to class early and with a dazed, disturbed look on his face and didn’t say a word all period.
To go an entire period without attempting to get others to laugh was not Macario. At first, I thought he may have broken up with Janice, or a family member died or maybe his parents had separated and were going to get a divorce. I had no idea that Macario had been sexually molested.
That day Macario and Janice did not show up for lunch.
When Janice came to fifth, I asked if she’d had an argument with Macario or had broken up with him.
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