Comments: 166 • Responses: 76 • Date: 2013-02-10 16:17:57 UTCsource
Borzensen20 karma2013-02-10 17:15:29 UTC
I really have no question, just wanted to say that I admire you for doing this job.
I am a High School teacher in Germany and basically all of my students are from a well-educated, middle class background. I guess i think twice the next time before I complain about my spoiled little brats.
Keep up the good work!
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hockeypug6 karma2013-02-10 17:22:09 UTC
shappock12 karma2013-02-10 16:18:52 UTC
Have you lost hope?
hockeypug28 karma2013-02-10 16:20:36 UTC
some days are harder than others. i haven't yet, though. i love the kids.
MrAnonymous82510 karma2013-02-10 16:22:06 UTC
Thanks for doing this. I have 2 questions:
What are some of the craziest things you have seen?
Has the center you work at been featured on Beyond Scared Straight?
hockeypug21 karma2013-02-10 16:25:47 UTC
1) i work as a teacher at the center, so i'm sure the corrections officers have seen more ridiculousness than i have. i usually only see the students in my classroom or in one of the rooms where i can go to tutor them. for me, the most mindblowing thing is being in a room with students who have committed murder. also, hearing them talk about their everyday lives back home - it's unlike anything i've ever experienced. the crime and poverty that is their norm is nothing like my life.
2) not to my knowledge.
novaguy288 karma2013-02-10 16:24:42 UTC
I spent most of my youth in Juvenile facilities. Was incarcerated with a boy who killed his father. Have you had youth in your facility with heinous charges such as murder/rape?
hockeypug16 karma2013-02-10 16:28:39 UTC
yes. i have two kids currently who have murdered, and one of my classes in particular is the Sex Offender class. they keep those kids separated from other kids. the other residents see it as something to improve their cred if it gets around that they beat up a kid with a sex charge. they call them 'scrape' charges.
edited to add: most of my kids are there for gun/drug possession charges.
hockeypug5 karma2013-02-10 16:31:43 UTC
what were you incarcerated for, if you don't mind me asking?
novaguy2834 karma2013-02-10 16:52:31 UTC
Starting at age 12 I started using drugs and alcohol. From that point, I started running away from home, stealing and breaking into homes. When I turned 18, I was addicted to cocaine and cashed some checks that I had stolen then Forged. Eventually I was caught and received a 50 years prison sentence( 40 yrs suspended, 10 yrs to serve, 10 years probation). My sentence was so harsh because they were able to introduce my Juvenile record at my sentencing. In Virginia, they can introduce your Juvenile record for 5 years after you turn 18. It shows the court a continuous pattern of behavior hence the long sentence. Served 5 years 11 months and was released in May of 1998. Have never been in trouble since. I told myself when I came home that no one will ever take another day, week, month or years from my life. I was a punk kid. I do not know that person anymore.
hockeypug20 karma2013-02-10 16:58:03 UTC
this brings me to (happy) tears. i'm so glad to see that you've been able to turn things around.
a lot of my kids are defiant and think they know everything (as we all did at that age). i just want to hug them and tell them that it doesn't have to be that way; that they can change it all if they want to.
congratulations. from the bottom of my heart.
hockeypug3 karma2013-02-10 17:08:14 UTC
what do you do for a living? has finding work been difficult because of your record?
RschDev7 karma2013-02-10 21:25:11 UTC
I designed instructional materials for kids in detention facilities. I interviewed a lot of kids and sat in on classes. I couldn't do it everyday. You and other people working in those systems, trying to make a difference, are heros.
hockeypug10 karma2013-02-10 22:23:58 UTC
Thanks. I wouldn't call myself a hero. Every kid deserves an education, and I'm happy to be able to try and provide that for them while they're in my care.
thombudsman6 karma2013-02-10 17:23:35 UTC
What's been the most inspirational moment you've had while working there? And what's been your lowest experience?
hockeypug13 karma2013-02-10 17:28:37 UTC
we had a kid who didn't know how to tell time. we sat with him and taught him what the notches in between the numbers meant, that the second hand takes 60 seconds to move around the face of the clock, and that that = 1 minute. that there are 60 minutes in an hour, etc. he was 16 and had never been taught how to tell time on a 'regular' clock.
my lowest experience is generally the lack of respect the kids have for education and, sometimes, for me - because i represent what they consider to be oppression.
it's also sad sometimes to hear where the kids come from. i had one defiant, rude kid a few months ago who i could never get through to. if i said the sky is blue, he'd say it's green. i later found out that he was in jail for holding a gun to a dyfs worker, because she'd come to remove his younger brothers and sisters from the home. the kids had no parent supervision and someone had called the authorities. i really felt for him after that and felt bad about not being more patient with him.
writer4life2 karma2013-02-10 19:08:55 UTC
what's their policy on the kids backgrounds? are you allowed to look into it without their knowledge or do you have to wait for them to tell you about it themselves?
hockeypug3 karma2013-02-10 19:25:47 UTC
i don't ask why they're there; i've found that i don't really want to know. once in awhile i really love a kid or really have a hard time with a kid, and then i ask the ed services head why the kid is there. but i've found that i'd rather not know.
the kids are very comfortable talking about their lives, though. in fact, we have to remind them that they're not allowed to discuss their charges with us or any of their peers. I've had fellow teachers called in to court to testify after kids have overshared. we teachers would rather not know, honestly.
MaturityKilledTheKid5 karma2013-02-10 16:39:41 UTC
If you were offered another job that paid the same, would you leave?
hockeypug19 karma2013-02-10 16:55:41 UTC
no. this job has its benefits, too.
i'm a state certified, highly-qualified teacher, but my workload is distributed differently than another (public school) teacher's might be. i don't have parent conferences, for instance. i can't assign homework because the students can't have pens or pencils back in their cells (they're seen as weapons). so the pace is slower and therefore less stressful.
plus, i love an underdog. i've worked in wealthy areas with entitled kids whose parents call me or email me if johnny earns a d, asking if i can change his grade. these kids don't have anyone to advocate for their education, so i feel a certain pride in taking them under my wing for however long they're with me.
techiebabe4 karma2013-02-10 23:11:09 UTC
They can't have pens or pencils back in their cells? Do they have any means to note things down? I thought even when youve just been arrested, having access to pen and paper was a right, in the UK anyway. Dont these kids get to write a diary, or letters home, while they are locked up? They must get so bored overnight. I sleep with a notepad by the bed in case I have ideas which I will want to come back to the next day, and if I didnt have that I think Id lose my mind trying to memorise ideas, songs, to-do lists, even just shopping lists, til the next day. Sure, in prison you dont have much of a shopping list! but to not be able to make notes overnight must be so frustrating. I know as a youth I relied on writing to express myself and get emotions out of my system.
Is there really no way for them to write?
hockeypug2 karma2013-02-11 04:04:35 UTC
Darnit! I responded to this but it got posted as a reply to the main thread. I'm not sure how to link but I did respond!
MaturityKilledTheKid2 karma2013-02-10 17:54:37 UTC
Nice answer, also, what are the differences in the curriculum compared to a public school?
hockeypug5 karma2013-02-10 18:00:00 UTC
public school curriculum assumes with each grade that there are benchmarks that the students would have reached in previous years. our kids come in and are tested and that test tells us their scores and what level they read/can do math at.
so i have certain texts that are standard for grades 7-12, but i have to modify the curriculum. for instance: shakespeare's romeo and juliet is on the state-mandated curriculum, so we read a very small part of it, read a comic book version, and then watch the baz lurhmann film version. this way the students are introduced to the themes and texts, but in a modified way. this is the best that we can do, given the circumstances.
eenhuistke5 karma2013-02-10 20:25:52 UTC
Do you think there are any kids that shouldn't be there? Like victim of circumstance kind of thing.
hockeypug20 karma2013-02-10 20:32:43 UTC
I've had several kids who engaged in consensual sex with people who were 1) younger or 2) of a different race. When the parents of the girls found out, they pressured the girl to say it was rape, even though it may have been consensual. These kids, who had no prior record and were stand-up kids otherwise, now have to register as sex offenders after they've served their time.
One of my favorite students had this happen to him. He was introduced to a girl who told him she was 16 (his age). They had sex. Turns out she was 13, her mom found out, and went after him for it. The police report states that the girl asked if they could change positions several times, for instance (not something you'd request, necessarily, if you were being raped).
Another student, an African American football player, who'd already gotten looks from major colleges, was involved with a white girl whose dad found out. Dad is racist, daughter cried rape even though the two had been dating for awhile.
I'm a woman and don't take kindly to people saying that women cry rape and lie about it, but I've seen what happens when that very thing happens. And it's sad.
eenhuistke8 karma2013-02-10 20:35:51 UTC
That's also the most terrifying thing to me. I'm a college student in a fraternity, and dear god when the word rape gets thrown around we all shit our pants.
hockeypug12 karma2013-02-10 20:50:58 UTC
Honestly? You SHOULD shit your pants. The word, and the act, is no joke. Be careful and act right.
stylz1682 karma2013-02-11 14:15:16 UTC
As someone who will be bringing kids into this world in a few years, this exact point worries me.
No matter how well you teach your kids or such, unless they avoid these situations completely, there is always the risk of that happening.
hockeypug2 karma2013-02-11 21:13:49 UTC
I think you're right. It's a nature vs. nurture situation, of course, but I'm a firm believer that everyone's born with a core Self. Some kids, even when born into the best environment, will still do what they will when their free will takes over. I've had kids tell me that even though their parents have tried, they'll still keep doing what they're doing.
That being said, the fact that you're worried about all of this tells me that you'll probably be more cognizant of your parenting skills and hopefully as present as you can be in your children's lives. Don't lose hope! Do your part by making them feel loved and safe.
macj975 karma2013-02-10 17:19:00 UTC
It is difficult to teach kids the subjects that you teach?
hockeypug8 karma2013-02-10 17:24:13 UTC
i'm an English teacher (who capitalizes lazily here), and i stated in another reply that the hardest thing for me is that there is no common ground in terms of what my kids know. i have 18 year-olds reading at a 1st grade level, in class with 12 year olds who are at the 12th grade level. it's very difficult and i have to make a lot of my lessons basic. we cover grammar and we read book excerpts, and have great discussions. but the hardest thing by far is the fact that i can never take for granted that my kids have actually gone to very much school before they've come to me.
wee0x1b-36 karma2013-02-10 19:22:14 UTC
who capitalizes lazily here
who capitalizes lazily here
"Lazily"? Try not at all.
Honestly, not using the shift key makes your posts hard to read. It's really not that hard to write a correct sentence, is it? I mean, you're attempting to communicate: why make it hard for the reader?
I would never have guessed you teach English, or that you were a teacher...
hockeypug20 karma2013-02-10 19:28:04 UTC
Zing! Noted. And I don't mean to be a jerk, but you should be using a semicolon instead of a colon here:
I mean, you're attempting to communicate: why make it hard for the reader?
I mean, you're attempting to communicate: why make it hard for the reader?
wee0x1b-28 karma2013-02-10 19:36:15 UTC
you should be using a semicolon instead of a colon
you should be using a semicolon instead of a colon
Yeah, I know. I didn't feel like editing the comment.
hashtagmadi22 karma2013-02-10 21:37:42 UTC
Honestly, it makes your post kind of hard to read.
hockeypug3 karma2013-02-11 04:03:29 UTC
Wait, was this to me or wee0x1b?
brbales4 karma2013-02-10 16:27:51 UTC
What common thread do you see with the kids there?
hockeypug13 karma2013-02-10 16:31:03 UTC
that it's a vicious cycle. i firmly believe that to a certain extent, none of this is their fault. they are what they know; they were born into an environment of crime and poverty and drugs and trust-no-one mentalities. they're hardened little beings but it's not their fault. i have love for them but sadly a lot of them come back again and again. and a lot of them, when asked, will tell you that when they get released, they'll just go home and resume the life they lived before they got locked up.
Hollyisahat4 karma2013-02-10 16:23:48 UTC
Why did you start to work there?
hockeypug14 karma2013-02-10 16:27:25 UTC
i needed a job... but i'm a teacher and i saw a posting for the place. i've had experience teaching in the suburbs and in urban areas, but this seemed exciting to me, for lack of a better word. i'm also a bit of a bleeding heart who wants to help everybody. i liked the idea of being a positive person who offered love and support to these kids while they're incarcerated.
nebnnud4 karma2013-02-10 17:51:10 UTC
Do the kids who have killed look/act different than the other kids? Is there a "type"?
hockeypug7 karma2013-02-10 18:02:03 UTC
not necessarily. some kids you can look at and sense that they're a bit 'off' - just like any adult you might look at with a mental illness. that's another point - mental health plays a large part in the kids' crimes. O.D.D., E.D., L.D., A.D.H.D., even. It's been eye-opening how much poverty leads to a lack of resources - or even an ignorance about available resources for mental health.
nebnnud0 karma2013-02-10 18:12:25 UTC
I've heard a lot of people say that ADD and ADHD is just an excuse for poor parenting, lack of discipline etc and that it isn't a real disease. Your thoughts?
hockeypug5 karma2013-02-10 18:17:15 UTC
well, these kids do come from (for the most part) completely unstructured and unsupervised homes. either there is a single parent, or both parents work, or one or both parents are in jail and the kids are left with relatives... there are so many factors along the way that don't work in the kids' favor. i am obviously not a medical doctor but i do believe that there are certain disorders that the kids do have. detachment, defiance, attention deficit. whether it's nature or nurture, the result is clearly observable.
nebnnud1 karma2013-02-10 18:23:41 UTC
You do a great service, thanks for answering. One last question, who's your team?
hockeypug7 karma2013-02-10 18:25:17 UTC
the flyers :)
tW4r4 karma2013-02-10 18:14:42 UTC
Do kids have internet there?
hockeypug4 karma2013-02-10 18:18:31 UTC
no. they're not allowed. they're not allowed to read the local newspapers, either, and they're not supposed to watch the local news. the idea here is that they need limited news from the outside world. there's a lot of gang activity and certain kids need to be separated from other kids.
tW4r2 karma2013-02-10 18:22:21 UTC
Not even world news? That seems kinda bad, because world news seem to be pretty important even for general knowledge. And in e.g. it's pretty hard to stay "educated" in something like IT if you can't have the news.
hockeypug2 karma2013-02-10 18:24:16 UTC
they do sometimes watch world news. i agree; it's important. it also depends on the corrections officer who's been assigned to their group. but truthfully, a lot of them don't really care to watch the news.
Sabersong3 karma2013-02-10 18:35:09 UTC
Do you ever feel unsafe or at risk while you're there?
hockeypug4 karma2013-02-10 18:39:49 UTC
i don't, because there's usually a guard who travels with each group. i've never (so far) felt unsafe.
Trew0023 karma2013-02-10 16:47:02 UTC
Has it ever been stressful, or scary?
hockeypug6 karma2013-02-10 16:52:35 UTC
scary, not really. there is a guard who travels with each class, so i have an ally if something goes wrong. for the most part, the stress stems from the tension between the residents (there are fights every day for the most part) and the fact that many of my students are reading way below grade level. for instance, i have kids who are 18 but reading at the 1st grade reading level. that, as an educator, is daunting. and i can only do so much.
fixed-one3 karma2013-02-10 22:34:37 UTC
I was locked up for several years between 11 and 18 in youth centers. We called the staff coaches. I ran into some of them on the outside and they were genuinely interested to hear how I was doing.
I saw one of my old coaches on an episode of Gangs on A&E I think. I emailed him after I saw the episode and he knew who I was immediately. He was glad I had not been pulled into a life of crime after turning 18 (even though I did continue it for a few years).
Would you be interested to see how some of your old charges are doing?
I know some of the coaches appreciated the kids that never caused any problems. How about you?
hockeypug8 karma2013-02-10 22:41:42 UTC
I am especially grateful for the residents who choose to not give me trouble. That's for sure.
One of the absolute hardest things about my job is the fact that my kids will be there one day, and I'll tell them, "Have a good night, gentlemen." ... and then I'll get into the building the next day, and they've been released. It makes me sad every time I don't get to say goodbye to one of them. Sometimes, I'll run over to intake, where they get dressed in their street clothes and get searched before getting on a transport van. I'll see if I can see them through the window and hopefully give them a thumbs-up (we're not allowed to touch them, which is sad - sometimes I just want to give them a hug), but a lot of times I get there too late and can't say goodbye. It physically hurts. They're really there one day and gone the next.
I would LOVE to see how some of them are doing. I'm not allowed to write to them or to initiate contact, but I do hope that when they get out, some of them look me up or write a letter to me. I love these kids and miss them after they've left.
I'm so glad you are doing well and that you've contacted your old coaches. We love our kids and we remember you.
hockeypug3 karma2013-02-11 03:57:51 UTC
They can write in class, or if the c.o. gives them something to write with, but for the most part they aren't allowed to have writing instruments back in the cell area. Just the other day, the c.o. gave each student a pencil and when he went to collect, miscounted and thought one was missing. Because of this, the kids had to get strip searched. I'm not even allowed to staple the packets I give my kids. Staples can be used to cut skin and we have a lot of cutters.
dancingnutria1 karma2013-02-11 15:39:19 UTC
What about crayons or markers?
hockeypug1 karma2013-02-11 20:08:54 UTC
They can use them in class with me but as far as back in the cell area, I really don't think they have easy access. Again it depends on the CO who's with the residents.
Rahrahraccoon3 karma2013-02-10 16:38:44 UTC
what ages do you teach?
hockeypug4 karma2013-02-10 16:39:51 UTC
my youngest so far has been 12, and my oldest, 19. both boys and girls.
Rahrahraccoon2 karma2013-02-10 16:43:02 UTC
How many at once?
hockeypug3 karma2013-02-10 16:50:52 UTC
i have seven classes. numbers have ranged from 5-9 in each class. there are at most 8 or 9 females in our residence at once, and they're always in the same class. males and females are kept apart.
itsgottensunny2 karma2013-02-10 19:01:03 UTC
hockeypug6 karma2013-02-10 19:05:51 UTC
we had a kid who slashed tires, another who vandalized a church. most kids are here for drug possession, or gun possession. a lot of kids show up in class still high from whatever they were doing the night (or week) before. one of my more recent intakes beat up his girlfriend at a party. it's hard to be patient with him.
basically any time a minor in our county is arrested, s/he is sent to us. but it becomes very clear very quickly what money can afford. if you're a kid who comes from a more affluent area, your parent(s) can afford a lawyer and that lawyer can get you off/get you released much more quickly than if you're a kid from the city whose parents have no money to speak of. poverty sucks.
1copper2 karma2013-02-11 03:00:18 UTC
How many of the kids that you are aware of have had concussions in their past?
hockeypug1 karma2013-02-11 03:49:33 UTC
I've never asked. What's your theory?
bunnyrabbitz1 karma2013-03-06 22:04:45 UTC
that was possibly the most random question in this thread
hockeypug1 karma2013-03-07 00:36:58 UTC
I thought so too... I'm bummed 1copper never replied.
thenewnum22 karma2013-02-11 22:43:24 UTC
What are your beliefs on weed? Is legalizing it going to help the community?
hockeypug1 karma2013-02-11 23:03:33 UTC
Oh, I don't know. Maybe? I don't know enough about everything involved to feel qualified enough to comment. I do know that weed isn't the only thing being sold by the kids.
Man_Without_Fear2 karma2013-02-10 17:12:31 UTC
nebnnud10 karma2013-02-10 17:23:50 UTC
hockeypug7 karma2013-02-10 17:24:40 UTC
i love you.
hockeypug6 karma2013-02-10 17:21:51 UTC
i'm not really sure how to give proof? i'd rather not say where i teach...
freemarket272 karma2013-02-10 22:43:34 UTC
How do the white/non hispanic,non black kids do in your institution? Are they beat up, bullied?
hockeypug1 karma2013-02-10 22:45:20 UTC
Depends on the kid, regardless of race. The squirrelly ones get picked on. Some of the best friendships I've seen have been between a black kid and a white kid. It all depends.
bkk73002 karma2013-02-10 21:57:42 UTC
I was abused at a placement facility and juvenile detention centers. A staff was child lined and charged for institutional rape for what he did to me, I was pulled out of the shower naked, and saw girls with serious mental disorders mistreated and humiliated. Have you heard of this type of mistreatment happening in any of the institutions you have worked in?
hockeypug1 karma2013-02-10 22:22:43 UTC
I haven't, and I hope never to hear of something like this happening. I'm really very sorry for what happened to you.
IveRedditAllNight2 karma2013-02-11 02:16:44 UTC
How many times do you have to use PRT? Do you feel that most staff pick on the kids because of the own insecurities? Do you think that they can't stand themselves because they don't have the balls to become a C.O at an adult correctional facility?
hockeypug2 karma2013-02-11 03:52:07 UTC
I actually have no idea what PRT is.
I do think that some of the C.O.s are bullies. I often wonder what their reasoning is for coming here and becoming a JDO, but I think it's an easier job with less potential for danger and injury. The residents are younger than adult, and smaller (mostly) than adults.
mmarmar1 karma2013-02-10 20:27:54 UTC
hockeypug5 karma2013-02-10 20:49:58 UTC
No, I haven't, because I try to tell myself that even if they're there with me for a week? Hopefully they'll remember that I cared and that I tried. It sounds naïve, but I just want to be a kind presence in their lives. Even if I can't teach them to read the original works of Shakespeare, I can still make them feel like they (the students) matter, and that they're loved.
Thin-White-Duke1 karma2013-02-10 19:55:54 UTC
Have you ever come across a sociopath, if so, what sort of action do you take with that child?
hockeypug2 karma2013-02-10 20:34:59 UTC
Usually, those residents have enough trouble with other students that they're kept separate, or in protective custody. Chances are I don't see those kids many times before they're sentenced and go somewhere more permanent. I have plenty of students who've been classified as emotionally disturbed, though. A few times I've avoided angering those kids for fear of their temper. I don't press them too much.
thepandoricaopens1 karma2013-02-10 21:02:36 UTC
When has someone pushed your buttons the most?
hockeypug2 karma2013-02-10 21:08:31 UTC
The kids are sometimes professionals at distraction and interruption. They interrupt me mid-sentence, and try to distract me from the lesson I'm trying to teach, or they tell me that I don't care about them, so why should they care about my class, etc.
In short, they're kids and they totally infuriate me sometimes with their kid-like behavior. :)
robkhit1 karma2013-02-10 23:40:09 UTC
You have any kids that were smart and surprised you with their mathematical, reading or writing ability?
hockeypug1 karma2013-02-11 01:35:02 UTC
I have kids that are really, really bright. I think I said in another reply that the intelligence runs the gamut, and it really does.
CanYouHearMeNow91 karma2013-02-10 19:07:55 UTC
hockeypug3 karma2013-02-10 19:09:55 UTC
i have never met a parent and have never been in contact with a parent. nor has a parent initiated contact with me.
freemarket271 karma2013-02-10 21:54:20 UTC
When your students say they will go back to doing what they were doing is that because there is money to be made doing it?
hockeypug1 karma2013-02-10 22:23:08 UTC
Yes. These kids make a lot of money selling drugs.
freemarket272 karma2013-02-10 22:31:07 UTC
So how can you have much of an affect on them? You are saying they are victims of the environment. Yet if they just go about their drug dealing a little better they can do well for themselves. Obviously a dead end but a case can be made.
hockeypug1 karma2013-02-10 22:42:52 UTC
Well that's a good question. Technically, my job is to provide them with an education while they're locked up. I like to let them know that they don't have to go back to their life of crime, but ultimately the choice is theirs.
angryhaiku1 karma2013-02-10 22:39:51 UTC
What's your workload like? How many classes per day, students per class?
hockeypug1 karma2013-02-10 22:48:23 UTC
7 classes a day, anywhere between 4-9 students per class. Classes are 40 minutes long. Workload is a lot of prep, and I have to modify a lot of texts for the kids to accommodate the students with lower reading levels. It's pretty challenging and definitely humbling.
angryhaiku1 karma2013-02-10 22:55:23 UTC
7x40, that's tough. Do you teach the same course multiple times, or is it entirely new material every time? Are you paid better than a public school teacher with a comparable workload?
hockeypug1 karma2013-02-10 23:18:36 UTC
Same course with some modifications, depending on the group I'm teaching and what their reading levels are.
I make less than a regular public school teacher would, because their school year is 180 days and mine is 220.
TVKelly1 karma2013-02-12 04:40:56 UTC
I'm working towards becoming a licensed mental health counselor and I've considered working in juvenile detention centers and other institutions to help troubled youth. I really want to specialize in adolescence therapy. I just think what your are doing to contribute is great. Are there things you do to handle the pressures and emotions that can come with this high stress environment?
hockeypug1 karma2013-02-12 12:06:15 UTC
I love my coworkers (for the most part), because we all realize that you've got to have a sense of humor about things and not sweat the small stuff. The kids are our biggest priorities, and their education while they're with us. It's definitely difficult though. I have two children myself and every evening I go home and love on them a little extra because I'm so grateful.
I admire you for your chosen career path. It'll be tough and will sometimes make you sad, but I also want you to know that I have had some of the best, most lively and fun(ny) conversations with these kids. I love them. The good stories I have outweigh the bad.
pantherwest1 karma2013-02-10 23:20:13 UTC
Do you get a sense that you're able to set any of these kids in a better direction so they won't be back into the system later in life? If so, would you take a guess on what percentage that is?
hockeypug1 karma2013-02-11 01:37:54 UTC
Every kid says he or she will never be back to our detention center. Sadly, that isn't always the case. I'd say about 20% (that's generous) turn their lives around after they leave us.
Doooomed1 karma2013-02-10 23:10:43 UTC
hockeypug1 karma2013-02-10 23:17:01 UTC
Our kids are a good sampling of the larger population's intelligence, I'd say. You've got some slow kids and some brilliant kids, and a lot of kids that fall somewhere in the middle.
We had a scared straight guy come in and talk with the kids awhile back. I think it's a little overdramatic sometimes, but it definitely gets the kids' attention.
thomasdewberry1 karma2013-02-10 19:49:43 UTC
The School to Prison Pipeline has created epidemic proportions of children being incarcerated. You mentioned here that most of the juveniles are there for drug possession charges. Do you feel the Zero Tolerance policies and the War on Drugs are doing our children a disservice as we incarcerate instead of educate?
hockeypug4 karma2013-02-10 19:55:23 UTC
A lot of them are there for drug possession, but it's not only possession: it's possession with intent to distribute while carrying a weapon... So it's not all that simple.
A lot of our students are also repeat offenders who get out of jail after serving their sentences, and then go back to the lives they were leading before being locked up. It's a cycle and I really don't know what the answer is. I will admit to not having the answers. It really depends on the individual and what s/he wants to do after being locked up and released.
thomasdewberry2 karma2013-02-10 20:16:45 UTC
Thank you for your response. I understand that this is complicated. Do you feel that the war on drugs has disproportionately incarcerated children who are poor and of color? What is the demographic that you see and do you ever see a pattern of children who are in jail? Last question- What do you see in the repeat offenders that makes them so and what could change this in your opinion? Any other insights from your lens are greatly appreciated. Thank you.
hockeypug8 karma2013-02-10 20:47:05 UTC
My students are primarily African-American or Hispanic. Our detention center is in the same county as a terribly crime-ridden urban area which is known nationally for gangs and crime. Just in terms of demographics, those are the kids I see most, because it's a highly populated area with kids trying to get by. I've seen family members - brothers and sisters in jail at the same time, or over the years.
I once had a kid (I always say, 'one of my favorites' because I do grow to love them - but this kid was awesome) say, "Miss, I've been hustling since I was 11. What else do I know? Where else can I go after I get out, but back home and do the same shit I've been doing? It's not like I can move away and start a new life. I've got no money to do that. And I'll probably die by the time I'm 25."
In terms of the repeat offenders, or even the kids from that area, is a commonality of a sort of detachment. They're hardened because they've had to deal with a life and a reality that other people have never had to experience. I hurt for these kids for this reason. They didn't ask to be born into these circumstances, and it's hard for me (and sometimes unrealistic and offensive to them) to tell them that their lives will be different. I do, however, tell them that it may be hard but that they do have the power to try and change things for themselves.
BeyondAeon1 karma2013-02-11 00:17:49 UTC
How many Kids there are "good kids" who had bad things happen ?
hockeypug1 karma2013-02-11 01:36:27 UTC
Not very many. They're good kids, but they've been doing bad things for awhile, for the most part.
Eli-W1 karma2013-02-12 12:37:05 UTC
hockeypug1 karma2013-02-12 14:25:26 UTC
I've been working at this facility for under a year but have been teaching for 10 years.
So far, kids are kids. Crime is crime.
I answered in another post, but the most common factor is poverty. It's saddening that some of these children are born into situations where they're set up to fail. I really do believe that.
IamErnest1 karma2013-02-11 01:11:20 UTC
Have you ever been emotionally attached or in sexual relations with a student or two?
hockeypug1 karma2013-02-11 01:36:00 UTC
No, I haven't. I genuinely care for the kids, and am old enough to be their mother. I see them as kids who could be my children.
locolococrash1 karma2013-02-11 02:59:54 UTC
What kind of crimes do the kids commit?
hockeypug1 karma2013-02-11 03:50:07 UTC
Drug possession, gun charges, robbery, rape, murder. It runs the gamut.
locolococrash1 karma2013-02-12 03:38:23 UTC
hockeypug1 karma2013-02-12 12:07:13 UTC
Yes! Young adults commit crimes too.
locolococrash-1 karma2013-02-12 20:22:54 UTC
I can't believe a teenager would murder someone!
hockeypug3 karma2013-02-12 23:54:07 UTC
all kinds of people murder people.
SegwaySteven1 karma2013-02-11 03:43:02 UTC
Have any of your kids tried to strike a deal with you? For example, offered you money or drugs for something, or offered something for drugs/tobacco. Also, how do the older kids get along with the younger kids?
hockeypug1 karma2013-02-11 03:49:16 UTC
No, they haven't. The guards would put an end to that if it even got to that point, by giving them a timeout or knocking down their levels.
hockeypug1 karma2013-02-11 03:53:12 UTC
The older kids often take the younger ones under their wings. There's a lot of bullying at times, though.
Nova_Hunter1 karma2013-02-11 04:39:17 UTC
Hello there, i posted an ask reddit about seeing what steps My bff can take to have his younger brother put into a "scared straight" program. Now i dont know if juvenile ceters do that or if I have to contact an adult jail. Any help is much appriciated.
hockeypug2 karma2013-02-11 11:19:01 UTC
Our facility actually does this. We've had parents at their wits' end bring their kids in. The social worker will take the kid down to the living quarters and how him around. He'll give the older kids some extra food, or magazines, or prove legend of some sort to be a little verbally rough with the kid. Sounds weird but it actually works well.
I'd call your local juvenile detention enter and ask to speak with someone about that. I bet they'd be willing to work with you.
MrDyl4n1 karma2013-02-11 05:00:40 UTC
Has a kid ever hurt you?
hockeypug1 karma2013-02-11 11:19:17 UTC
JimHigdon1 karma2013-02-10 18:36:06 UTC
How much is sex abuse a factor, either in their backgrounds that led them to commit crimes, or risk of abuse inside the facility, from older inmates and/or guards?
hockeypug4 karma2013-02-10 18:41:55 UTC
we keep the kids with sex charges in the same group, but sometimes it's a power play for kids to bother one another. they are closely watched and each resident has his/her own cell, which helps. i haven't heard of anything happening with the guards, and i hope not to.
re: the kids, i've come to believe that if a kid is sexually abusing another kid, it's had to have happened to him or her somewhere in the past. they do what they know. it's helped for me to not be angry with the kids with regards to their charges.
novaguy281 karma2013-02-10 18:54:43 UTC
Great response based on your observations and experience . I agree that the sexual crimes of kids are a direct result of a cycle of behavior that they have been exposed to. They do what they know and what feels good at the time. Instant self-gratification. Neither thinking of their victims nor the consequences of their actions. I myself was abused as a young child, Fortunately I did not continue that cycle. I did however learn about this type of behavioral in School later in life.
hockeypug2 karma2013-02-10 18:58:40 UTC
i'm so sorry that you had to go through your experiences, and i'm proud of you for not continuing the cycle. life is messy and difficult at times.
sledge070 karma2013-02-10 20:28:26 UTC
I could never do this job for one reason:
If one of those little fuckers spit on me or hit me, goodbye career.
hockeypug8 karma2013-02-10 20:52:51 UTC
I should also mention that the kids are used to having adults see them just as you've described them: little fuckers. They know that adults hate/fear them, and that can be empowering and it can also add fuel to their angry fire.
I joke with my kids and try to make them laugh and I let them know, in whatever way I can, that I respect them as people for who they are and for where they've come from. Even if I hate their (alleged) crimes, I can't hate them as individuals.
sledge071 karma2013-02-10 21:34:57 UTC
We had a teacher get attacked a couple years back, and they actually got to the point where they were doing tele conferences with the teachers since the kids were so bad.
hockeypug1 karma2013-02-10 22:24:45 UTC
Was this a juvenile detention center? I can imagine that when numbers get high, tensions get high and there's more of a likelihood of violence.
hockeypug2 karma2013-02-10 20:48:20 UTC
Then it's best that you don't do this job. :)
Truthfully, they're respectful for the most part. They have beefs with each other, not me. And I do have guards in the room with me while I teach.
calltheball22-1 karma2013-02-10 17:14:05 UTC
hockeypug2 karma2013-02-10 17:21:58 UTC
[deleted]-5 karma2013-02-10 22:14:52 UTC
hockeypug2 karma2013-02-10 22:21:55 UTC
medicalalphabetical-8 karma2013-02-10 19:20:22 UTC
hockeypug1 karma2013-02-10 19:23:18 UTC
i don't have ay jewish kids right now, no.
medicalalphabetical-7 karma2013-02-10 19:25:14 UTC
hockeypug3 karma2013-02-10 19:35:03 UTC
medicalalphabetical-9 karma2013-02-10 19:39:32 UTC
hockeypug5 karma2013-02-10 19:42:37 UTC
I'll ask again: Why's that?
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