Loving the prodigal

Restless In Her classes, Halle began to spend time across the street from our high school with some students who regularly cut classes. As her special education teacher, I spent many hours sitting on a curb or a bench with her, trying to help her find a purpose for being in school. She had come a long way from being the angry, uncooperative, failing ninth grader I first met in my special education class for students labeled emotionally disturbed. She had been reclassified in tenth grade and qualified to move with me to the more mainstream resource program I was then heading. She was making A's and B's in her classes and had been a delight—until the end of her senior year.

Although I continued to reach out, Halle became more and more distant and rebellious. No matter what I said or did, she now seemed determined to fail. Finally, she decided to drop out of school. I wasn't surprised by this decision, but I felt very sad and disappointed. She had come so far and was so close to graduating!

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