Along with other normal teenage hormonal changes, my granddaughter could become a fire-breathing she-wolf "that time of the month." She's in her twenties now, has a degree in pharmacy assistance and she and her military husband just had their first child while living in another country. A great-grandson for me. But as a teen she could be a fire-breathing terror she-wolf during those "monthly" times. No amount of Midol, Pamprin or prescription meds could help during those times.
One day at school, a very hot day at that, the coach had her and other students running laps around the track outside. It was a scorcher day to say the least. I mean one of those days where even in basic training they're called "red flag" days and new recruits often don't have outside training but are given other duties instead when the outside heat rise to dangerous levels.
Well, my sweet little granddaughter was having her "monthly" and had done several laps when the fire-breathing "she-wolf" in her couldn't take it any more and she let that coach know it too. She gave him a piece of her mind, chewing him out and spitting nails for having them run laps in the scorching hot sun.
After cooling down somewhat she went back in tears, apologizing to the coach, begging him not to have her suspended from school, call her mother or granny who would be "very disappointed in her."
The coach actually apologized to her, and explained he never intended to take the matter to such extreme levels anyway. He further went on to tell her he should have considered the weather was too hot for running laps. That he had daughters around her age and he understood about that "time of the month."
Now, this wasn't a school in Chattanooga or even Tennessee for that matter, but that phenomenal coach handled the situation smoothly and without getting SRO, taking her to the office or her parents involved. I learned of the situation from my granddaughter herself who's always felt comfortable sharing anything with me, her mom and her dad. Must be the "liberal" in us.
This was a coach at another school, in another state who took the time to reason and consider the student's side. The coach involved in the East Ridge situation handled matters poorly from the go by getting the SRO involved.
The coach in my granddaughter's situation was also white. This just shows that white educators can have just as much understanding and compassion for black students as well.
If not for that coach's clear thinking, logical reasoning and understanding that one day when the fire-breathing "she-wolf" erupted from my granddaughter on that track while taking laps in the hot sun, a young female teen's life could have been altered, and not for the better.
Yes some students, like some adults, can be mouthy, become agitated especially when pushed or they're not feeling well or just having a bad day, but often it all boils down to how we as adults handle the situation. I once worked in the school system and was also a parent volunteer at one point, as well as a reading coach. I never had problems with any of my young "teachers." I think of them as young teachers, because I learned just as much from them, about them and more, as I taught. Most of all I gave them respect and was always a willing listener. In turn I received respect, even to this day.
I also remember the words of a college instructor, not U.S. born, "When we teach we also learn." I carry that lesson with me always.