Old Man Wolf

Mack was Blackfeet Indian. ( I always thought it was Blackfoot, too).  I never did understand the systems logic in placing him under the juvenile justice system rather then under child protection.  Here is his story:

      Youth Services was called when Mack began missing school.  When they went to his home,  they found him caring for his 7 year old brother.  The mother had left more then a week before and Mack was too ashamed to tell anyone.  The food had run out and the little brother was sick.  The elderly grandparents took the little one in,  but had no room for Mack so he was brought to me.  
       I had some pretty rough boys at the time and they were not real receptive of this 13 year old, dark skinned, very long black haired, 5 foot tall,  250 pounds child.  I gave him a room of his own.  My heart really went out to this abandoned 'misfit'.
        I spent alot of nights sitting on the edge of his bed rocking him in my arms as he cried for his mother.  The agency was trying to get the father to take custody,  but that was not looking good.  
        When he went to court for the truancy (which I think was a real crock), the court ordered his hair cut (it was the agencies idea).   Mack felt very strongly about his heritage and beliefs.  He was told if he refused to get it cut,  he would stay in detention until he agreed.  I had experienced a lot of crap from the agency,  but this was up there with the worst.   He finally agreed because he did not want to be taken away.

        Mack had a 'lazy eye' which gave him somewhat of a sinister appearance.  He was as sensitive and gently as a bunny, but he looked so intimidating.  He did not do well in school because of the label 'JJ kid' (juvenile justice). Most of the teachers and Vice Principal never gave him a chance.    He was of average intelligence but was behind in his classes.
       One day I was at the psychiatrist with one of the other boys when a case worker came in and let me know Mack had left school.  The circumstances were sketchy, but it was said he had hit a teacher and thrown books at another.  This proved to be an exaggeration.  Anyway, I left the other boy with the case worker and went to the school.  I found out what actually happened.   Mack was having trouble with a project in wood shop and got frustrated.  Some kids started making fun of him.  He threw down a tool and walked out.  The teacher told him to come back and he refused.  He went to his locker to put up his books when a different teacher caught him for being out of class.  She man handled him (really dumb to grab a 200 pound kid who was mad) and he slung his books on the floor and walked out of the school.  
      I was not sure where I would look for Mack,  but instinct said to go home.   There he was asleep on the trampoline.  I woke him up.  He looked so scared.  I told him to get down and then I hugged him.   I said "Mack,  I am so proud of you!  You didn't hit anybody and you came home".    We talked for a long time about the school and how I knew it was so hard for him.  I told him I had no idea what the school would do, but what he decided to do would be up to him.  
      After some private time to think,  he came up and told me he wanted to go back to school.  He wanted to apologize and take what ever punishment they said.  We called and then went in.  We asked for Mr. Dobbs, the principal who is a fair and good person,  but the VP caught us.  (She was a bitch then and was for the next 6 years until they fired her).  Anyway,  she was really pushing all the buttons,  including mine.  I took Mack and walked out.    I insisted on seeing Mr. Dobbs, no matter how long we had to wait.  We talked to him and provided all the information on the incident.  He asked Mack what he felt was appropriate under the circumstances.  Mack was allowed to return to school,  he served some detention time and  he made all the necessary apologies.    
       There was no hard feelings with the shop teacher.   He was a fair and caring person.  Mack was doing really well controlling his anger.  It was not easy because of the abuse he suffered on a daily basis.   About 2 weeks later the agency came and they put Mack in detention for the incident.   There was no reasoning with them.  They had it in for Mack from day one.  Mack never got to come back to my home.  Then they refused to let me have any contact with him.  No visits,  no letters.  He didn't know.   He was left to think I didn't care.  
      Two years passed and he was finally reunited with his mother.   Twenty months of that time was spent locked up.  He called me.   That was the first he learned that I had not abandoned him.  It was the agency that terminated my contact.  After that he "checked in" with me both to tell me the happy things as well as unload his problems.  
       Last time I saw him, he was 17, 6'2 and still 200 pounds.  Guess he just had to 'grown into his weight.

God Bless you Mack,  where ever you are.