WTF Wednesday is a semi-regular feature of this blog. It documents the things that have made me pause, slap my forehead and say "What the f**k!" Well, that and I just like saying WTF. I'm retired. I don't have to watch what I say anymore. I'm not any one's role model.
This week I'm substituting in 6th grade at the middle school. Middle school can be an especially challenging age group. My group this morning was chatty and active. They burst into the classroom talking nonstop and barely took a breath all period. They were eager to share all kinds of things, and very little of it had anything to do with what we were studying. I struggled to keep them on-task and was on the move all period to make sure that everyone was working.
At one point I noticed a student with a three inch scab on his arm. "What did you do to your arm?" I asked him.
"It's an eraser burn." He nonchalantly replied. He seemed to assume that I would know what that was. I didn't.
"What's an eraser burn?" I asked him and when he told me I thought...
What the f**k????
"Lots of kids have them." He called over two other boys and told them to show me their burns.
Eraser burns are a form of self-mutilation. Kids rub an eraser over and over on their skin until it burns. Apparently lots of kids do this and some of them are doing it at school. I found several videos of students giving themselves eraser burns posted on YouTube.
All the years I've worked in education and I've been oblivious to this dangerous practice. What the hell are these kids thinking?
If you have teenagers in your life and you see them with burns and scabs, it's time to start asking questions.