I agree, Rory. It is shocking. And I don’t know what the answer is. There doesn’t seem to be a good one — or maybe I’m just too jaded to see one at all.
I can remember feeling happy when I’d connect with a violent/abusive student, like when they’d finally show some empathy towards others, or when they’d sincerely say something sweet, or do a kind gesture. I’d feel hopeful, like, ‘okay — we’re getting somewhere; this child is capable of learning!’ But every single time, the next offending behavior would be so much worse than the previous, it would seem to eclipse all of the (too far & few between) happy moments.
And even when we did get one of these children successfully through elementary school, their world would entirely collapse once they moved on to middle or high school.
One of my instructional assistant friends had a student who hit her in the head with a loose brick he found somewhere outside the building. It was such a bad blow that she suffered a concussion and was in the hospital for a week/out of school for 2 months.
I wish I knew what the answer was.