Every Halloween, I watch the top 100 Scariest Movie Moments with my kids. Sometimes we laugh at the older movies and the low budget effects (The Attack of the Killer Tomatoes is one that kills me!), but
5. Helter Skelter
I am from a small town and most people attend a protestant church, including myself. There was one catholic church in the town, but I never thought there was much difference in our practices. When I
|Charles Manson did not celebrate Lent|
Today, I am much more cautious about remarks I make to students and I try to educate myself about different cultural practices before I open my mouth. I think school counselors should make efforts be culturally competent.
ASCA and School Counselor Competence
Culturally Competent School Counselors
So, I just started a new school year and was having a particularly tough day. One of my former parents came in to talk about his son's NCAA eligibility. He was always a happy man with pleasant smile on his face. In the past, he always came in with his wife, but that day he was alone. Outside my office is always lively and he asked if he could close the door. Since it was very loud, I got out my chair and closed the door. He told me that I looked like I was tired and then he made some small talk. After we spoke about his son's status, he asked about my lack of energy. I shared with him that my son had been in the hospital and I had been trying to balance work and home without much success. He had a look of kindness and compassion on his face and told me to take care of myself. We both stood, walked to the door, and I turned to shake his hand. All of the sudden, this parent grabs me by the shoulders, kisses me near my mouth, and walks out. I was in total shock! I think I stood there in the doorway in disbelief and doubting that the event ever occurred.
|Surprise attack by parent|
Sexual Harassment Prevention in Schools
ASCA Regulations on Sexual Harrassment
3. Nightmare on Elm Street
In my second year as a high school guidance counselor, I worked at a school that had a large group of students who experimented with the occult. These students were very open about their practices, wore occult paraphernalia, and were very unapologetic about their involvement in the unseen world. As the year progressed, one of the new male students started coming to see me regularly after he met me at registration. He shared with me that he hung around with some of the kids who were involved in occult practices. The student mostly spoke about his rough relationship with his family and how his new friends made him feel loved and accepted. During our meetings, he never mentioned their activities, their interests, or beliefs; however, he did tell me that he was starting to have bad dreams. We really didn't talk about the bad dreams, but we talked about how the dreams made him feel. Once a week, the student would come to see me and each month his appearance seemed to deteriorate. Finally, the student told me that he was not getting any sleep because his dreams were becoming reality. Puzzled and concerned about his well being, I asked him to tell me what he was experiencing at night. " At first, the dreams were not that bad...I was watching what was happening to others, but as time went on I was being made to be involved in the acts and it became real." Naively I asked, "What were you doing in the dream"? The student looked at me with swollen eyes and said, "The demon wanted me to do unthinkable acts to others, but I just cannot do it so he tortures me"! At that point, the student broke down and cried uncontrollably.
ASCA Guidelines in Making Mental Health Referrals
2. Jekyll and Hyde
Fortunately, I have worked with some very professional and strong principals during my career. I am always impressed with their ability to handle angry parents, intense situations, and the unknown with proficiency and professionalism. However, at one school, I had a principal that did not fit this description.
One year, I was assisting with testing for a school with over 3500 students (talk about pressure) and everyone was on edge making sure everything ran smoothly. In the past, our principal stayed out of the way and let the testing coordinators work their magic, but this year was different. This year, the county office was coming to observe and our principal was on edge. The week before the test we noticed the principal's behavior begin to change. First, the principal started questioning us about the test schedule and made last minute changes that made testing more complex; next we had to move the test materials to a vacant building in which we had to drive back and forth to transport the tests; last the principal put another person over us who had never coordinated testing to make sure things ran smoothly--this caused even more chaos. All those things I could handle, but what happened next made me lose respect for the principal. One afternoon before testing, we were counting calculators and several were missing. At that moment we discovered we were short of calculators, the principal walked into the testing room and asked for an update. One of my colleagues, who was a well respected teacher and had been at the school for many years, spoke up and told the principal we were missing calculators. Before she could get another word out, the principal grabbed a folding chair and threw it half way across the room causing all of us to stop in our tracks as it crashed into the wall. At that point, the principal began to relentlessly yell at her as her eyes filled with tears. The last remark the principal made was that we better not mess up and all eyes would be on us.
Enhancing the School Counselor and Principal Relationship
1. High School Horror
It was a busy morning and one of my regulars came in to talk to me. She was a student who always seemed down, in a drama with other students, or having trouble at home. That morning, as she walked in and took a seat, the phone rang and I answered it. As I answered the phone, I covered the mouth piece and told her to give me a minute. She said, "I don't have much time so can you give this present to my friend and I have a note for you." I looked at her and said to give me another minute, but she walked out. Do you know how you get that feeling that something is not right? I decided to open the letter and the words "kill myself" popped off the page. Immediately, I flung off my heels and ran down the back hall to the front office where I saw her walk by the window going outside of the school. As I reached the office door, I screamed to two male staff members to stop the student. At that moment she sprinted to the parking lot and then to the main road. As she made it to the highway, one of the males caught her and they both fell onto the road...he had saved her life!
School Counselor and Suicidal Students
Feel free to share your scariest school counseling moments with me.