I don’t know why I suddenly thought of David the other day. He was one of my pupils around four years ago. He’d just come to ‘the big’ school, he’d already been in specialised schooling and was in one of our smaller classes. He was quite small for his age and rather cute. He used to carry an extra bag around with him because sometimes he needed to change his clothes. The first time he asked if he could go to the toilet during class I said no. No one was allowed to leave the class and anyway the toilets were locked until break. This gave rise to a wave of protest from his class mates who knew that he needed to go quickly to avoid an accident. Fortunately our classroom was across the corridor from the department’s secretary, so I was able to send someone out to check. She came back pretty fast and said it was okay for him to go accompanied by the class representative and gave them the key. After that he went out without too much fuss when he needed to with the representative who was getting pretty fed up by the end of the year.
One afternoon I went in to see the secretary about something and she was there with the lady in charge of the cleaners, they’d called him in to give him a watch, it was only a freebie watch but he didn’t have one like he didn’t have a lot of things including his own home. He was thrilled with it and as he went out they told him not to let anyone take it off him. I never saw him with it again.
The following year I was pleased that I would see him at the second college I was sent to. It was in a zone classed as ‘problem’, some of the teachers were quite a lot harder than I was used to. He wasn’t there. When they saw that a 13 year old needed to come to school with a change of clothes they decided to send him to a special residential school on the Island.
He’s a year older than Olivier and now that Olivier is turning into a handsome tall young man with a great future ahead of him, I wonder what has become of David. I’m sure he wouldn’t have continued his education, he couldn’t read or write very well at all. His cuteness would have no place in the difficult world in which he would be forced to enter.