y name is Jane Carretero and I am 14 years old. Towards the beginning of my 8th grade school year at Fort Miller I started doing drugs, and my mom found out about it.
One day, she and I got into a huge fight and she found a bottle of marijuana in my backpack. It was a difficult choice for her to make, but she ended up calling the police. They ended up taking me in for that.
After three days at juvenile hall, it finally hit me. I remember falling on my knees and I started crying for my mom, and I was like, “Why did I have to mess up so badly?”
When I went back to school, I had fallen behind a lot. A lot of people thought that I snitched them out. Some people even thought that I had gotten pregnant, and a lot of girls wanted to fight me, because they thought I was saying things about them.
The teacher started yelling at everyone, and he turned to me. I said, “You’re yelling at us for no reason.” Then the teacher said, “Don’t talk back to me. I know kids like you. You’re messed up in life, and you’re going to mess up when you’re older, too. You’re going to go off to high school thinking you’re all cool and pretty like that, thinking you’re all hard. And you’re going to get beat up one day by a girl better than you,” he told me.
My mom taught me manners, and I didn’t want to say anything back to him. I was tired of people judging me. I’ve done a lot of bad things in my life, and I don’t like people looking back at me and putting things in my face. So I walked out.
I ended up sneaking into a couple of classrooms. When school ended, I left campus through the side gate, because I had found out that they were looking for me. I didn’t want to get in trouble. It was a stupid decision, of course.
I had forgotten that the school had my iPod, so I tried to walk back onto the campus. When I asked for it, they said, “No, you left.” I said, “No, I didn’t.” They called me a liar and yelled at me in front of everyone. They ended up suspending me two days. I was more afraid of going back to juvenile hall than of facing the consequences when I went back to school after being suspended.
After two days of being suspended I went back to school. As one of my teachers was taking attendance, he asked where everyone was. I wanted to say something bad, and I said, “Up in beds, where we should all be.”
After he kicked me out of his class for saying that, I found out he wrote down that I said, “Up your ass” when he asked where everyone was.
Right when I walked into the school office, one of the staff said, “It’s her. Suspend her.” She didn’t even look at my file.
It wasn’t just about being suspended, it was more to me. I risked being locked up again and being sent to juvenile hall. This time, I wouldn’t have been locked up for two or three weeks, but three months for violation.
Jane Carretero now attends Edison High School. She heard about restorative justice when she was a member of The kNOw Youth Media. She remembered her own experience with school discipline in middle school and wrote the following poem.
I Know Kids Like You
It was last year
beginning of 8th grade
I started doing drugs
me and my mom had a huge fight
she found my stash of marijuana
she called the police
after 3 days — it hit me
falling on my knees, crying for my mom
why did i have to mess up so badly
I went back to school, I had fallen behind
The teacher started yelling at everyone
he turned at me and said
I know kids like you
you’re messed up in life
you’re gonna mess up when you’re older too
you’re gonna get beat up one day by a girl better than you
My mom taught me manners
I didn’t want to tell him anything
tired of people judging me
I’ve done a lot of bad things in my life
They suspended me for two days
More afraid to go back to juvenile hall
then face the consequences at school
I was sent to the office, kicked out of class AGAIN
It’s her, they said
But I wouldn’t just be suspended
I would be locked up. Again.
not just for two or three weeks this time
but for three MONTHS
why did i have to mess up so badly