Wednesday, February 4, 2009

He's Not in School WHY?

One of my favorite (yeah, we teachers do have some favorite students, although we don't show it in class...) has been absent this week. 


Not quite.

Sunday night at around 9 p.m. he was returning home when he was attacked at knifepoint by two teenage boys as he left the metro station near his home in central Moscow. 

The reason? 

They wanted his ipod.

Luckily he wasn't harmed at all! He also managed to find policemen -- WHO ACTUALLY HELPED HIM, actually chasing and apprehending the attackers.

So why has he missed three full days of school? 

That's how long it takes to file the police reports and appear in court! In a city famous for bureaucracy and lengthy delays, this trial is proceeding at lightening speed. If found guilty, the attackers could be sent to jail for ten years. 

The boys, it turns out, are from families more affluent than my student's... Somehow their parents tracked down the home number of my student's mom and are trying to arrange to meet her privately... Undoubtedly they'll try to bribe her to get her son to recant his testimony.

Or she could be in real danger if they've also figured out where she and her son live.

It's crazy!

So not only was he attacked, but now his life has been turned upside down for all this legal hoopla he can't escape! He has no lawyer, but the boys' defense attorney is trying to pin the crime on him -- twisting facts to claim that he had actually tried to attack them

My student's head is spinning from being tossed into this nonsensical and scary world.

Much less importantly, he has missed our entire week of classes -- during which I've been cramming their heads full of preparation for a major standardized test (think the SAT for students of English) they will take in one month!

The other seniors have been upset by his absence... and then one other student in our tiny class was almost mugged last night! Yet again, the police actually came to the rescue! A cop actually witnessed the attempted crime and came to my student's defense.

I am really thankful to hear these good things about the Russian police... Not everything is bad news...

It didn't all end there, though... 

Today my students in various grades were also upset to learn about a teenage girl who was murdered in St. Petersburg and then EATEN by others who were goths/emos. 

Unfortunately, lesson plans I had prepared for some classes(and presented before learning about the grisly news), included a heartfelt discussion about how organ donation is regarded in America -- about how teens consider the question when they get their drivers' licenses at age 16. I started off the class by passing around my license and having them scrutinize it for anything that seemed different from their parents' licenses. Inevitably, someone in each class noticed the heart and asked about it. (They initially thought it meant I'm married!)

I then had them listen to a wonderful essay that was part of Story Corps on NPR, an interview with a pediatrician that I highly recommend you hear... 

We had some fantastic class discussions about it, though... Organ donation is NOT discussed here; most people are "creeped out" by it and wouldn't consider it. After our discussions, though, I think some of my students will keep the idea of it -- and the possibility of it in the face of tragedy -- in their hearts. 


Tami said...

Wow. Unbelieveable. We'll keep both of those kids in our prayers. Glad to hear the policemen did their job.

Carey and Norman said...

Sorry to hear about your student and other children in Russia. It is a shame that people have to be so mean. I hope it works out for your student!!

Anonymous said...

wow life in Moscow...I am sorry that your student was singled out and is now being wrung because he had an iPod...for pete sake.

All the talk about organ donation reminded me how the peoples of Russia think that when we adopt children we bring them here for their organs. What a very different set of thoughts.

Tina in CT said...

Reading this sickens me. Tragic.

I shuttered reading the article in the Moscow Times about the horrible, sick murder in St. Petersburg.

Wish you all were living here in the burbs in the US.

Carolynn and Steve said...

Wow. How tough for you as a teacher. I'm glad that you're hanging in there and helping the kids to work through it. I'll say a prayer for your kids, too.

Francie said...

Wow, reading this was like reading a James Patterson book, but realizing that it's real! Just terrible about the crime stories over there. Seems so unbelievable! I'll also be praying for you to be strong for your students and for your students as well.

Annie said...

My goodness.... I must say that that particular bunch of articles was like an odd foray into prompts for Russian literature. The apartment story brought Zoschenko to mind, and then there was a bit of Dostoevski material following, with some Sholokhov thrown in....

Even the crimes are more interesting in Russia. Though I have to say that the iPod theft sounds like something that would occur in a Lansing HS! Why wait for the street?

As I read everyone's previous comments I can only note that, unlike me, they do NOT watch "Forensic Files".... we have our share of grisly crimes...just not quite so interesting....