Urgh! First day back at school and DS (14) has earnt himself a two day zone placement (isolation from classes and break times) - he was asked to do a poem about his English teacher (who he really doesn’t like) and it was so dark and evil it was scary! Xxxx should die xxx should die a painful death etc SENDCO have asked to talk to him over the weekend oh which I’ve already done and he’s like “it’s just words in my head, I don’t meant it” - having had a lovely calm boy over the Xmas period and now going back to school we don’t know where to go from here. He’s not a bad kid and evenSchool have said that but he refuses a lot which gets him into trouble. Anyone experienced this?
My son, who’s not autistic, wrote a very dark poem when he was younger. I can’t remember it fully but it was about killing or something like that. No one batted an eye at it, as far as I know. We thought it was deep and dark but I just thought he must have been feeling angry or something when he wrote it. I can get very in-depth at the dark stuff and I too don’t mean it but it does feel like a kind of release. I can’t believe they’ve put him in isolation because of it. What do they think they will achieve by doing that? I’ve also got an extremely avoidant profile, so I refuse to do a lot of things, even if I want to do them. I didn’t go to school for a whole year when I was 14 and wouldn’t do a lot of things, but I couldn’t explain why. But I do know people got the wrong end of the stick. I could be very graphic in my thinking but I can barely watch a film if it’s got any kind of violence in it. I’m slowly realising that there’s just no explanation for the way I am sometimes. I don’t always like it but I’m realising that I’m going to have to accept it and stop trying to come up with reasons. It doesn’t make logical sense other than the world is a harsh place for me and my refusal and anxiety etc are all related to my difficulty in relating to the nt world.
Erm, isn't that somehow asking for trouble, that task? Apparently a lot of people have a lot of dark thoughts of that sort. No idea, when I had them (not about killing, just denying help if it were needed really) it worried me a hell lot because I thought the next step would be having thoughts about more active things and possibly acting on them. I tried to talk about this to a counsellor and she couldn't get why it worried me because apparently it's normal. She seemed to have quite dark thoughts about some people too. She was convinced there is a very long distance between the thought and the act. No idea if that's true and if it's also true for everybody, but I hope so, now that I've been told lots of people have that...
Personally, I would not be worried.
Your son may not be very sophisticated in expressing his feelings and so may use extremes (such as in his poem) to express his unhappiness or to offload his plain and simple hatred of this teacher.
Another explanation could be that your son was really embarrassed about having to write something so personal about someone and so he may have been trying to use dark humour to disguise his unease, which backfired. Let’s face it, another teacher, who may have been wiser and less insecure, may have seen the funny side and really laughed about your son’s poem. I know I would have.
Generally though, who hasn’t had a dark thought? Who has never hated something or someone? Sadly our little NDs, who may be a little too honest and a little behind in understanding boundaries, (i.e. what not to share with others or say out loud...) are really vulnerable to making these sorts of social ‘faux pas’.
It doesn’t mean your son would actually kill them or harm them in any way in real life. I agree with Oktanol’s Counsellor- there is a huge world of difference from thinking dark thoughts and acting upon them.
And contrary to seemingly popular belief, it is not illegal to have thoughts, however dark. It is, however, illegal to act upon them (which, as you say, you have since discussed with your son.) But some schools/teachers are never too far away from being self-appointed ‘Thought Police.’ And I think it is a real shame that school has demonised and shamed your son over this, instead of seeing this as a lovely opportunity to help him better understand social boundaries in a supportive, positive and light-hearted way.
I am thinking of all the young people I have worked with over the years, and how gloriously dark, morbid, hating, fantastical, passionate, they/we can all be; it’s part of being human. Therefore I think it entirely possible that other students in his class may have also wanted to write this or something similar about this (or some other person or) teacher but, being NT, they likely recognised that to do so would be a bad idea. So they wrote ‘acceptable’ things instead?
I expect your son is now learning this lesson (the hard way too, bless him).
And I again agree with Oktanol - I personally think it was a deeply weird and narcissistic thing for a teacher to ask of their students. And, for perspective, I just turned to two of my teenage sons and asked them what they would have wrote; my (probably) NT said he would have wanted to write that his teacher was a Di*k for asking for a poem about him/herself, and my (definitely) ND said he would have refused to write it. And therein lies all the difference perhaps?
Teens, I can’t help but love them.
There is pretty good evidence that dark thoughts and Autism go hand in hand. I know that my own relationship with death is one of abject detachment and a complete lack of empathy. That’s not to say I don’t care and would mean anyone any harm, it just means that I’m very logical about life with I view as being a virus like terminationary disease with death being the inevitable outcome.
Therefore what I would suggest is that DS doesn’t like the task or may not like the teacher, so us simply expressing that in the poetry. The problem is more about proportionality in his thoughts than actual true meaning, and it’s somethimg that we see a lot of in society as a whole. Take for instance, and I am not implying anything about DS, teenagers that carry knives because they think it’s cool and will kill someone simply for belonging to a rival group of friends ie a gang. Do those teenagers realise what they are doing? I doubt it, they simply hear music that makes it seem cool, tv shows with violence without the true impact of said violence, video games that feature violence without the cost of it, so imitate it without knowing the effect of their actions. So rather than a negative, this could be seen as a positive with DS that there is work to do surrounding empathy, impact of his words on others (and visa versa), and a fuller range of language to express thoughts about not liking things.
So I applaud you for being concerned, please use the information positively thoug and try to persuade the school the same.