I was working in a 4th grade classroom and in the middle of a lesson when a tiny Asian boy came up and asked to go to the office.
Me: Can it wait till recess?
Kid: No, I stapled myself.
Now, I’ve had enough experience with almost all kinds of excuses to take a little walk to the office for every known “imagined trauma” known to kid-kind. This sounded like the “I got a paper cut, call the EMTs!!” variety.
I wasn’t going to annoy the office because of a minor “injury” like this. A cursory look showed it wasn’t even bleeding. Though one end of the staple was still sticking in the end of his finger, I was sure that simply pulling it out wouldn’t hurt and he’d be fine.
Me: Why are we playing with the stapler? We are supposed to be reading a story.
Kid: I thought it was broken and tried to fix it. I need to go to the office.
The kid is starting to appear a bit pale as I took a closer look at the injury. He had not only stuck himself in the finger with a staple, he had managed to put the staple completely through and out the other fleshy side of his finger! The boy is quivering and looking a bit green. I think he’s gonna faint on me!
Me: Go! Go now and take a friend with you.
The last thing I wanted was for the kid to faint half way to the office. I called to let them know the situation and that I had sent someone to go with him to make sure he got there.
At recess, I received an update call from the office letting me know that the staple was successfully removed by the school nurse and that the grandparents were coming to take him home. The grandparents wanted also to stop by the classroom to “inspect the stapler”. I could only wonder what answers to questions they might have from examining a common kid sized stapler.
My guess was the grandparents actually wanted to “inspect” the incompetent substitute teacher that would let their grandson become mutilated by negligently operating dangerous industrial office machinery.
So, after inspecting the kid sized finger sticker, the grandparents and the boy had a short discussion in native dialect. The boy didn’t want to go home and convinced his grandparents he could stay the rest or the day.
Tomorrow’s lesson: “Electric outlets and metal paperclips – a no, no!”