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  • Writer's pictureMax Melby

"WARNING: [Student] has beaucoup bags of sugar he is freely distributing."

Whether you work with 2e students or parent 2e children, you just need to laugh sometimes. It can be easier than crying. This incident was one of those times.




This has got to be one of my favorite stories... in part for its absurdity but also because every time I've shared the story with a group of 2e or gifted educators, it's met with big laughs and sharing similarly unbelievable situations.


On the morning of October 14th, 2019 at 9:26 AM, our whole staff received the following email from our science teacher:


"WARNING: [Student] has beaucoup bags of sugar he is freely distributing."


I read it once. I read it twice. I took a moment to think about it. At 9:27 AM, I replied all:


"Confiscate!"


We didn't have a policy for or against distributing bags of sugar because why would you, but it did feel like it shouldn't be happening (I stand by it). I peeked into classrooms until I found [Student] sitting peacefully at his desk participating in class. No bags of sugar. No backpack. He had his Chromebook and a water bottle. Suspicious. A couple of other teachers confirmed that they saw students with bags of sugar, but never saw [Student] actually give anyone a bag of sugar. I went to [Student's] locker to sniff around a bit to see if I might be able to locate any contraband (bags of sugar).


I did not find any bags of sugar but I did find a box of Mini Peanut Butter Sandwich Crackers that looked... off. The top was wide open. No bag.


... odd.


I picked up the box and found that it was not full of Mini Peanut Butter Sandwich Crackers, but SMALL PLASTIC BAGS OF SUGAR.




During the next class break, one of our staff members asked the student about these bags of sugar in a cracker box. He told no lies. He was honest, forthcoming with his plans, and immediately knew that he should not have done it.


His plan was to give any interested classmates one free bag of sugar and then charge them a small fee to purchase more bags of sugar.


I applauded him for his entrepreneurship, but we also talked about how this method had some blurry ethics, especially taking into account how various narcotics have been distributed in the recent past in the United States. It was not about guilt or shame... just a solid learning opportunity! He definitely knew why it was an issue and we were all able to laugh about it.


I connected with [Student's] mom that day and after being briefly mortified, she was able to laugh about it too. It turns out that he had recently attended a birthday party at a Chuck E. Cheese kind of place where you could win tickets by playing arcade games. He saved up his tickets to purchase a few giant Pixy Stix. He has always been a bit of a sugar fiend so nothing seemed odd about that choice. She didn't know that he would get up in the night to swipe some medication bags (typically used for travel) to repackage the sugar for distribution though.


Obviously, it isn't ideal to surreptitiously distribute sugar (or food) to classmates. Students aren't always aware of their classmates' allergies or medical conditions and that could be an issue... but no one was hurt on this day.


He didn't have any consequences. He got it.


Sometimes smart people make bad choices and that's just fine.

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