Besides their parents, teachers spend the most time with children. Teachers are in charge of educating their students so they're ready for the real world. As a result of spending so much time together, they get to know their students pretty well. Sometimes, they learn there's something off about their students.
Teachers on Reddit shared the moment they noticed something off about one of their students. Content has been edited for clarity.
“She Is Miserable Coming Into School”
“I currently have a student in my special ed academic support class who is just so manipulative. My colleague and I (mostly) joked how he’s probably drowned a cat just to watch it die or something just as serial-killer-esque.
He’s habitually truant so most of the time, he’s not a problem, but he really knows how to manipulate everyone around him. He’s not smart enough to manipulate adults effectively (yet), but he can get the other students going. He instigates things with students who are much less intelligent than he is and then plays the victim. He gets away with it because the other students aren’t cognitively able to give their side of the story. He lies constantly about banal things. Like he went around saying that a knockoff Louis Vuitton bag he got at a charity shop was worth $3,000, and threw a fit when I wouldn’t let him take it to the bathroom with him and accused me of wanting to steal it. The next day, he admitted he knew it was fake.
The ONE day that he’s been here in the last month, he accused another one of my students of buying narcotics. It turns out the cognitively disabled boy that the little sociopath manipulates did, in fact, steal weed from his mother and put it into this girl’s bag in the morning. She found it there and didn’t know what to do with it, so she left it. This little arsehole came up to me and told me about this nefarious substance deal that happened in the morning. This poor girl had her things searched and ended up suspended, and her parents grounded her for 6 months. She is miserable coming into school every day. He hasn’t been back to see the damage, but I’m sure that he’ll be excited when he sees that he’s spread misery.
I am so happy every day his name appears on the absence list. This child will appear out of nowhere, drop a bomb on the classroom and then disappear for weeks. It’s almost insidious.”
This Came Out Of Nowhere
“The stories of the things one of my students did are extensive. One example is he got up from his seat to throw something away. On his way back, he walked up behind a student who was distracted working on his assignment. Out of the blue, he pushed the working student’s head forward and into the desk. He gave him a bloody nose.
There had been no previous altercation or source of friction between the two. His parents were divorced and his mother was too afraid of him to have him during the days she had custody. His father would move him frequently from school to school once his behavior got so bad that the school started the process to get him into psychiatric care.
“I Hear This Blood Curdling Scream”
“I had a student while I was doing my student teaching (8th grade). He was constantly in trouble, but during the times he WAS in class, he just stared off with the most vacant look in his eyes, it truly scared me. It was downright creepy.
One day he was up at the whiteboard writing some stuff (I think it was correcting sentences) with a bunch of other kids who were doing the same thing. I wasn’t watching the kids at the board, and all of a sudden I hear this blood curdling scream and look over – he had brought a hypodermic needle and had stabbed the girl next to him in the leg.
He had been holding it in his hand the entire time, just waiting for the opportunity to stick someone. It was, of course, terrible, but the girl turned out okay. The worst part, besides that, was how he laughed when security came to get him … Ugh, I’m shuddering now just thinking about it.”
Good Thing They Had Those Jeans
“I was often substituting a special needs class, six to seven boys about 8-10 years old. The days were normally lively but I always had everything under control and the boys had learned to trust me and at least tried to do what I told them to. Never had any real problems, just normal stuff.
Then one time there was a new boy in the class. Their teacher had written me a note that said to keep a close eye on him at all times. He had the telltale features of a FAS child and small, black eyes like a shark. He never showed any emotion whatsoever, excluding immense excitement if someone else got hurt in any way.
Few days passed without any incidents and then, out of the blue he stands up in the middle of class, yanks the much smaller guy sitting in front of him down with his chair from behind and starts to pummel him in the face with his fists. I ran to intervene and grabbed him off and set him in a corner ordering one of the trustworthy boys to run and get the principal here, NOW! The attacker stood in the corner, emotionless as ever and completely calm. I turned to check out the crying kid on the floor and miraculously he seemed unharmed, but was just shaken up by the surprise attack. I sat down on the floor to calm him down and to help him up. Next thing I know is the shark-eye kid standing beside me and stabbing me on the leg with my teacher scissors (the only pointy ones in the classroom).
It was then when I realized why the attacked kid wasn’t badly hurt. Shark-eye was big for his age, but he had no physical strength at all. I didn’t even get a bruise from his stab, my trusty Lee’s jeans stopped the blade which I instantly took from him.
I threw the scissors on top of a high shelf, and ordered everyone else out of the classroom to wait for the principal’s arrival while I watched over Shark-eye. Boys ran out, Shark-eye looked at me curiously for a few seconds and sat down at his desk and continued his math assignments like nothing had happened.
I asked him quite sternly what had made him attack a fellow student. Shark-eye lifted his empty gaze and said ‘I heard him laughing at the school cafeteria. I thought he could have been laughing at me. Can we play football today in gym class?’
The boy had no empathy or remorse. The episode meant absolutely nothing to him. When the principal arrived, we went through the situation and the class affirmed my description or events as they had happened. Shark-eyes’ mom picked him up early and he stayed at home for a few days. The principal told me this was not the first such incident, and the boy was on queue for a hospital school class. The principal commended me for my actions (I was very young at the time), and was surprised I had been able to keep my cool even after getting stabbed, even if the attempt had been pitiful.
Turned out that’s my teacher superpower. I never lose it. Even when I’ve been spit at, got chairs thrown at me, someone trying to gouge my eyes out while holding them (more than once) etc. Luckily the years in the same school have accumulated my reputation and nowadays it’s very rare that someone even dares to try to mess with me.
This incident was nearly 20 years ago but I’ll never forget it.”
“I Immediately Put The Brakes On”
“I had a high school freshman who was a very boisterous kid, and youthful for his age. One day, he was being disruptive and acting up, so I asked him to step out of the room with me while my co-teacher continued the lesson. I calmly explained to him why I had taken him out, why his behavior was disruptive, and asked him to be more mindful in the future. He seemed attentive to me, and to understand where I was coming from. Then, just as I was about to go back in with him, he says to me:
‘Okay, I’m gonna start crying so everyone thinks you yelled at me.’
I immediately put the brakes on. I asked him why he wanted to do that, why he felt it was okay to lie like that, and why he wanted to make me seem like a bad person when I had been very polite and thought we had had a good interaction. He didn’t have any good answers with me, but we had already spent enough time out of class. I got him to agree to go in quietly and we went on with the lesson.
Needless to say, it was a sign of things to come. He turned out to be a gossiping, backstabbing little social monster. The more mature kids learned to keep their distance from him, and he cultivated friendships with other kids who enjoyed his acting out, and emulated it. We finished out the year on reasonable terms, but as he went on to other teachers with different classroom styles, his behavior worsened and derailed many classes.”
Definitely Not His Favorite Student
“I had a six year-old the size of a nine year-old pin a four year-old to a wall. It at least looked like he was trying to feel her up.
I walked up behind him and shouted,’What the heck do you think you are doing?’
He immediately backed off and started stuttering trying to explain himself. He would say some messed up things, too.
One time, he walked up to me, a six foot tall, bearded man, and said, basically,’Hey mama, let me suck on your chest.’
Hated that kid. If you told him to do anything, he would intentionally do something to go against what he was told. His parents spoiled him rotten, and let him do whatever he wanted. He got away with anything, because a former teacher had inadvertently injured him, and his family, who are filthy rich, threatened to sue the dogshit out of the school. He basically had immunity from discipline at school, and parents that let him do whatever he wanted.
He hated me, because I wouldn’t put up with him. I never hurt him, but I would put him in a hold so that he couldn’t move fairly often, because he would constantly sucker punch other, smaller kids, for just about any reason at all. Even if he just wanted the toy they were holding. Kid was a little sociopath, with parents that were rich enough that they enabled the behavior.”
You Sit On A Throne Of Lies, Abby
“This one happened just the other day. Let’s call this child ‘Abby.’
So, I’m driving a minibus of students home from a basketball practice when suddenly Abby starts screaming, ‘Did that have peanuts in it!? I’m allergic to peanuts!’
She begins hyperventilating and crying and actually makes me pull over so she can get off the bus and throw up. We’re about 15 minutes from the school and I’m literally having a panic attack.
So, I call the principal and ask what should I do? Do we have an Epi-pen on hand at the school, anything that can help her? She seems confused and puts Abby’s grandmother on. She proceeds to tell me she wasn’t aware her granddaughter, who is claiming she can barely breath, HAD any allergies.
When we got back to the school I was about ready to faint, and the principal brings out her registration paperwork to show me: no listed allergies. She isn’t allergic to anything, it was all an act. The hyperventilating, the crying, even the throwing up, was all for attention.”
“I Had No Reason To Think Anything Negative”
“I had a student in one of my classes (middle school) who joined my class about a week into this school year as part of a re-integration program in our school for kids with ‘externalized behaviour.’ Early on, I was warned by an assistant in the program not to hug this student (or let him hug me) as there was no way to tell ‘how he might spin it in the future.’ Fortunately, I am not a hugger but this definitely gave me a heads up about what kind of kid I was really working with. Up until this point, I had no reason to think anything negative about him. He seemed attentive, engaged, and eager to learn.
About a week after joining, he started going out with a girl in the same class. This is where some red flags started being raised. The student he was seeing has a long history of struggling with relationships of all kinds and he started to exploit that. He dictated who she was allowed to be friends with, who she should sit with or work with (always him, of course). He would physically move himself between her and other students given the opportunity. He started to brag that the only reason she came to school was because he told her to. Things like that.
About 6 weeks into the school year, I glance out my door and see his girlfriend coming out of another classroom, tears streaming down her face, hugging herself and rushing towards the girls washroom. As I walked out, I saw him following her, calling after her and telling her she had to talk to him. As I approached her, he physically stepped in between us, put his hand on the wall in front of her (preventing her from walking forward) and told me to go away. Sorry kiddo – not gonna happen. Ignoring him, I told the girl to continue on to the washroom and in his frustration with me, he turned his body and she slipped by.
At this point he was physically shaking and turning red. He told me to leave again and that I wasn’t even his teacher (because he wasn’t in my class at that time). He walked into the girls’ washroom (we have open bathrooms with solitary toilets) and started banging on the door telling her to come out. One of the assistants from his program noticed this, came jogging down the hall, and told me she had the situation under control and I could return to my room (where I was teaching another class).
The next period began and, to my surprise, this student returned to my room. He smiled and apologized to me, saying he didn’t know why he said those things and that he wouldn’t let his temper get the better of him. The whole speech sounded rehearsed. Against my better judgment (which I’m still struggling with), I let him stay and told him that we’d have to speak after class, but that I appreciated him taking ownership of his actions.
About 10 minutes into class, he started looking agitated. Then he got up, walked across the room towards a girl (not his girlfriend), pushing kids out of his way to get to her. Before I could even register what was happening, he jumped on her and started flailing and punching her in the face. I managed to pull him off (most teachers will tell you that laying hands on a student in always the last resort) and he took off into the hall. To my horror, this girl (who, it’s worth mentioning, had hardly spoken in my class EVER, never mind interacted with this kid in anyway that I had seen) chased after him. She ended up catching up with him in an atrium, where he threw a chair at her, knocking her to the ground. He then proceeded to start kicking her in the stomach and head. By this point, there are 2 other teachers and myself running towards him, screaming at him to leave her alone. I eventually got between them and he was hauled off to the office.
He, obviously, doesn’t attend my school anymore. His girlfriend (I’ve been told they’re still together…) is slowly starting to attend school again and the girl he attacked switched schools due to the trauma and has subsequently tried to take her life twice.
“I Shudder To Think Of His Future”
“I had a third grade student many years ago who was probably one of the scariest kids I’ve ever worked with. His family was involved in heavy gang activity and illegal substance dealing, and when he was younger he was in the care of his uncle. He was using him to rob people. The boy would go up to people and cry and pretend he was lost. While the person was trying to help him men would come up behind and rob them. They were also using him to run illegal substance trades. He would take the money and make the trade with the buyer.
By the time I had gotten him, he was now in the care of his mother again. The police were investigating her for selling illegal substance too.
Now onto the student…
He was academically on a kindergarten level and illiterate because his behavior was so bad. He would tear up rooms, attack staff and students. Our school was two stories and had outside hallways. He once climbed the railing on the second floor and threatened to jump. A forty-five minute standoff and a call to mobile crisis later, he finally came down. But that’s not even the bad part’ his mother became pregnant and he would talk about setting the baby on fire or drowning it in the bathtub daily. If you were alone with him he would hit himself and yell out ‘Teachers name’ stop hitting me (he didn’t realize the hallways have cameras).
There was a student who just came back to school from open heart surgery. The boy knew this, and walked up and punched him directly in the chest. After that, I finally had enough incidents to get him moved to a self contained behavior class. The school psychologist was completing his evaluations. I was waiting outside the room because he had a history of getting violent with staff. The psych came out of the room when she was finished, and looked completely flustered. She said she had to call her supervisor about his evaluation.
When I asked why, she said the boy has no moral compass and was unable to see past his wants. She then told me he had drawn a picture with a bunch of tear drops down the face. She had asked why he drew of picture of himself crying, and he said ‘that’s not me crying, that’s the number of people I’m going to kill. I’m going to be a killer when I grow up.’
I shudder to think of his future.”
“It Was An Emotional Rollercoaster”
“I met this kid when he was two and a half, and he was already messed up. Super manipulative. He would chase the other kids, trying to hit or kick them. He crafted pretty convincing lies to get other kids in trouble, or blame them for things he did. He did it so well that it often was impossible to KNOW it was a lie, other than that you knew it was him because it was always him. At nap time, he would get off the cots and try to body slam all the kids trying to sleep. If you sat with him, he would try to kick you in the face. If you tried to control him (by restraining him or something like that), he’d scream you were hurting him and my director would come in and threaten to write us up if we touched him again. Nap time was terrible.
At three, he continued the above behaviors but started adding in creepy threats. He told my co-teacher he was going to get a weapon online, and the postman was going to bring it to his house. Then, he would hide it in his backpack and bring it to school and shoot her in the head when she wasn’t looking. He told another teacher he was going to bring a hammer and hit her until her head looked like applesauce.
At four, he was STILL doing all the above creepy behaviors but also was now big enough to throw chairs across the room. He had discovered gouging people’s skin off with his fingernails and biting. He was not allowed to have anything even remotely sharp, ever. We pretty much had to be constantly watching him, despite having 19 other kids with two teachers (the ratio at 4 and up was 10 kids per teacher).
During all of the above behaviors, he would intersperse periods of being very sweet. As a teacher, who wants the best for kids and believes they all deserve love and a place to feel safe, you’d think finally! He’s opening up to me! We can work with this! We can help him! Even, selfishly, I’m the teacher who finally got to him! but that was only new teachers, and we all fell for it at least once. Inevitably, it turned out he was using it to get away with things,.
When you’d take another kids side on something where he was clearly in the wrong, he’d say ‘But I thought you liked me now? I thought you liked me… You hate me don’t you. Nobody loves me,’ while crying.
If you made it clear you didn’t buy that, he’d pretty much just scream at you and then turn back into the terror he was. It was just an emotional rollercoaster with this kid, honestly. Always holding out hope eventually that little phase of being nice would be the real deal, the time you’d really actually really reached him.
By five, he still wasn’t potty trained (he refused, mostly, but when we pushed the matter his grandma got mad and told us never to put him in underwear). One day he showed up with stitches on his face. His grandma said he’d been bitten in the face by their dog and she was going to have it put down. We all immediately wondered what he’d done to the dog. For what it’s worth I convinced her to rehome the dog and unless she was a manipulative lying little brat like her grandson, I like to believe she was telling the truth.
We had real scissors in the pre-k room, and licensing says that all art materials had to be available at all times (this includes paint and chalk, which was a headache to manage all by itself). We had to watch him because he often tried to stab people. The director wouldn’t listen to reason in regards to putting them up because of him, we were just supposed to do a better job ‘controlling the classroom.’ He also had begun doing weird dirty things. He would drag smaller kids under the slide or under a table where we’d be less likely to see and try to rip their pants down and hump them. He tried to grab the little girl’s crotches. He started talking about genitals and asking dirty questions. His grandma insisted we were teaching him this behavior, and refused to answer any questions. She’d scream about us accusing his granddaddy (who she claimed was the only person home with him when she wasn’t there), and how could we do something like that? We were all perverts, the works. I don’t even remember all of it.
We had all called child protective services multiple times about this kid, and had never seen any follow through. I had been refusing to work in the room with him anymore. I often had bruises and scratch marks and nothing was being done to support us, we were just supposed to redirect him. If we couldn’t control him without saying ‘no’ or using time out or restraining him in ANY way, we got in trouble, we were only supposed to ‘redirect.’ Meaning, we had to give him special treats, thereby further encouraging the behavior. This also made the other kids feel they had to replicate such behavior if they also wanted special toys, activities, food, whatever. My director was a complete idiot.
However, when he was about 5 and a half we had gotten a new director. She immediately decided he was a danger to the other kid,s and we couldn’t control him with any tools we were authorized to use. She suggested he get some outside help and perhaps reduce his time with us until his behavior improved. His grandma withdrew him instead, screaming the whole time about how we always hated her and her baby ,and now he wasn’t going to have anyone to watch him and he was gonna get worse because we abandoned him.
I really hope that little boy got help. He was a danger from before most kids were forming full sentences, and continued getting worse. I hope he got removed from the toxic environment he was in and got all the help he could get. However, I will not be surprised to see his name in the newspaper someday soon connected to a violent crime or two.”