E. Muffin stands about four feet high. He is a beautiful elf of a child, a wafer thin sprite with a ridiculous mop of dreads. Muffin is barely controllable. Until last week he had a special education one-on-one who was lazy and incompetent. While he was running wild in the halls during class, or dancing in front of the LCD projector, or doing shadow puppet shows on the overhead transparency screen, his one-on-one would be chatting on her cell phone or programming her Ipod.
Muffin is the cutie-pie who called me a "bald-head muthafucka" a couple weeks ago. He is so charming I had to turn my head so he didn't see me laugh when he said it. But Lukie and I had suspicions he was quite brilliant. When we discussed the Jena 6 Muffin began rapping about Marcus Garvey and Fred Hampton and Mark Clark. He talked about Jim Crow laws. I saw him doodling one day and realized he'd worked out the elegant square of 1,111,111,111,111 on his notebook cover.
During a recent fire drill Muffin did backflips and walked on his hands to our homeroom line-up.
Fortunately for the teachers Muffin has a new one-on-one as of this week. Mr. M looks like Ray Lewis, and is of similar stature and bearing. He wears three-piece suits with all the accoutrements, including jazz club bowler hats with elaborate feathers and weaves. Mr. M regards the world through dark Raybans. Muffin hasn't been coming to Language Arts in the morning, but Mr. M has waited patiently for him each day. He fills his time reading scripture in the back of the class. Yesterday I read to the group and Mr. M approached me afterward. He grasped my hand in a coconut-crushing grip. "I admire the way you read to them today. They seem to respect you, and were following along."
"Thanks," I said, checking my hand for fractures. "I wish I could read to them every day. There are many brilliant kids in here who aren't giving themselves a chance to succeed."
"Miss Lukie is doing a marvelous job with them. I follow this group all day and they wreak havoc with the other teachers."
Later I saw Mr. M patiently explaining to Muffin that he couldn't do what he wanted to do all the time. Muffin was calling him a "big dumb ape-headed bastard."
A psychologist visited Lukie today during planning period. He'd just tested Muffin and found his IQ was likely in excess of 165. "It may be higher than that, but I was unable to finish the testing. Muffin got bored, called me a 'stinky piss-hole shit-eater' and stormed out without finishing the last problems."
Lukie assured the psychologist that she would advocate for Muffin in any way possible. "I knew he was a genius. He uses about 1 percent of his attention in class and still gets everything. He just never shows it."
We've got to get this child into a different school. One where they can give him the freedom to pursue his interests, while also teaching him how to channel his brilliance into something other than removing his pants in class and coming up with hilariously apt insults.
Of course, it would be nice to have such a school for every child everywhere.