Thursday, I had the great honor of speaking at the Pulaski County Juvenile Detention Center. Upon entering into the facility I was asked, “what organization are representing today Miss Buckner?” I promptly responded by saying, “Myself.” They were all too surprised that I chose to reach out to delinquent kids as an individual and that I didn’t come in the name of a church or charity — as if the people of these entities are the only ones with a vested interest of the success of a child. Be that as it may I was able to proceed with a few directives, no cell phones or cameras allowed (well there went my Facebook post opportunity). As the children entered the room, adorned in the county orange jumpsuits and standard jail slippers, I must admit that it was quite intimidating to know I was charged with the responsibility to impart the wisdom of life into them. After all, I spent the entire school year helping to deter my students away from this place. Needless to say, here I was scrambling to pump out a motivational speech with a jail-house spin on it. Within this classroom setting of forty or so kids a former student of my quietly took her seat. In that moment I had come to the realization that, at least one child had slipped through cracks of the disciplinary system of the school and ended up exactly where I had predicted she’d be. I shot a quick glance in her direction to acknowledge that I knew who she was. She responded in kind and I proceeded with my speech. Though her presence did take me aback initially; I’d be remiss to find someone more deserving of she, to be in this place. As I had experienced the wrath of this student in several classes throughout the school, I had warned her, on occasion, that if her behavior did not change –this is where she would end up. Imagine her surprise to see my face where she would never have imagined. There again, she was forced to listen to the advice she refused to heed earlier this school year.

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