Children sometimes have a terrifying potential to be the scariest creatures on the planet. Here, teachers share their experiences with students who struck them with that potential and blew away all notion of innocence.
(Content edited for clarity.)
“Wife is a teacher. 8th grader would smear his own poo on the restroom walls. Threatened to violate my wife in the comment section of her classroom YouTube channel (rookie mistake using your real name as your username). When called out for it, parents lawyered up and said no one could ever prove his account wasn’t hacked so we had no way of knowing it was him.
Later my wife found a note near her classroom door in his handwriting saying he was going to shoot up the school and that he already knew where everyone was going to hide. School went on lockdown and he was later found hiding in the woods behind the soccer fields. When questioned about it he said he ran because he was scared. I could go on. The kid will likely shoot up his high school.”
A Tasty Delight
“My friend teaches and told me this. He had a student who constantly picked at his scabs. He would rip them off and eat them, then lick the blood off his fingers. Then pull disinfectant swabs out of his backpack and clean the wound while smiling creepily. He made everyone feel super uncomfortable and grossed out, but no matter what, he wasn’t removed from the class.
Finally one day my friend comes back from the teacher’s lounge to find him using a letter opener….under his skin and moving it back and forth, blood everywhere. When asked what he was doing he said his skin itches and it’s best to get it at the source…
The kid was finally removed from the school. My friend never found out where or what happened to him though.”
“I have been able to assist in programs and such through my volunteer work and one of my major things was that I would bring in owls from our local sanctuary, that were unable to be in the wild, and teach kids about them. For 99.9% of the kids, this is an awesome experience and they love getting to see these beautiful creatures!
One day I had our barn owl, Sitting Bull, who is blind in both eyes, out and was explaining how strong his beak and claws were when one kid asked ‘so can I touch him? I don’t think he’ll hurt me cause he knows I’ll hurt him if he does.’ First red flag. About 30 seconds later I got the second major one when I told him no, we do not allow that in any circumstance. He proceeded to stand up and walk over to one of the desks, smash his head off the side of it and then (with a sizable crater in his head, I was freaking out internally at this point and needed to put the owls away so they didn’t freak) say ‘well I don’t need to be here then, take me to the hospital.’
This was 4 years ago, the kid was in 5th grade and I have no clue what’s become of him.”
The Hit List
“In school, I had a friend of a friend who was very obsessed with the army and blood/gore. He lacked social skills and kids made fun of him all the time. He asked the stupidest questions in class. One day some kid made fun of him and went too far, he drew a large pocket knife from his pocket and poked the bully with it and then exclaimed he had a ‘list’ in his book bag.
The school security guard busted in less than 20 seconds later, took the knife and checked his book bag, sure enough, he had a list of about 15-20 people on it. He got expelled and I have not seen him since the incident, I doubt he is coming back to school.”
That One Unforgettable Student
“My worst one was first institutionalized at the age of 4. Reading his file was like reading a biography of the serial killer. He killed the family pet. He tried to set his mom’s bed on fire while she was in it. He had violent fits of rage and heard voices that weren’t there. He had been diagnosed with mental disorders that I have never even heard of. There were at least four maybe five mental conditions listed within his file. By the time he made it to my class, he had been removed from our school twice and placed in the most restrictive setting in our school district. And both times parents pitched a fit and threatened a lawsuit if he did not return to our school.
While he was in my class, he would do anything to get out of doing his work. He quickly figured out how to game the system. He realized that if he caused a big enough disruption, then we would have no choice but to take him out of the room. Sometimes this disruption would be him crying and screaming at the top of his lungs. Other times it would be him peeing and pooping his pants. One time we had to get our other students out of the room so he didn’t hurt them. We had to move furniture away from him so he wouldn’t throw it at us.
Part of his positive behavior plan included time to journal. He would write some of the most violent and disgusting stories. Often the stories were about him hurting other children and needing to be punished. He was obsessed with death and violence. I kept one of the little booklets that he made. It’s around here somewhere. But he was obsessed with Five Nights at Freddy and many of his stories incorporated those characters. He would write about burning children alive.
Eventually, my co-teacher and I had enough and we pretty much harassed his mother every single day until she called an IEP meeting. He went on a modified day schedule so that he left at noon every school day. Finally, she put them in the online homeschool program that the state offers. The last time that I saw him, he came up to me, gave me a hug, and asked if I knew that there were glass houses on the dark side of the moon where a bunch of people lives.
I could talk for hours about this kid. However, there is one day I’ll never forget. He was playing with this toy that he brought from home and I reached over and took it off of his desk. He first looked at my hand and then looked me straight in my eyes. It was at that moment I realized that he really wanted to hurt me. He threw his head down and cried on the desk like he normally did. Only a few minutes later did I look over and hear him still crying. But he’s looking straight at me, with no tears in his eyes, and he had the most psychotic and evil looking grin on his face, all the while still making sobbing sounds. It was the only time I’ve ever been afraid of a student in my career.
I have no doubts that this kid will go on to kill someone either for fun or just to see what it’s like.”
Seconds Could Have Altered These Two Lives
“I worked with a kid who was a little Eddie Haskel-ish… but was a hardened kid. In 8th grade, would say all the right things to appeal to caring adults, but as soon as you turned your back, he was a holy terror! Bullying others, thieving, selling spice (and pot when he could get it), even makeshift traps. But once in trouble, the OTHER kid would show up. I could go on, but the gist is that, as my last principal put it, ‘once a kid is that hardened, you simply have to hope he doesn’t one day decide YOU’RE his next victim… and courts/foster programs are too overwhelmed to really catch him in the act and get him the help he needs.’ Scary kid.
Fast forward 3 years, I have another student who is a brawler… she’s addicted to getting a phone (what teen isn’t) but cooperative for the most part. Reads at a 4th grade level in 8th grade, and her math skills are about the same… as an 8th grader. Super caught up in image, and thug life, and as long as I didn’t trigger her insecurities about intellectual inferiority, she was a joy and would engage in discussions, and attempt the math (I was her prealgebra AND U.S. history teacher).
2 years after that… the boy is a year or two out of high school, the girl in 10th grade. She and a friend are murdered execution style by a group that included the boy (allegedly, as I think the case is still pending).
Both students had sent up many red flags, and many other kids do likewise, but the hardest part of the job is knowing that I have only a minute impact on my students and that their paths may be wrought with such awful things. And, the longer I teach and hear the news, I realize that this is common and there simply aren’t enough resources to get ALL kids what they need! And those I do impact may never realize my attempts to gently impact the course they’re on. Throw in how often I’m reminded that student standardized test scores just don’t make the grade. I don’t think the kids who were executed or the kids who are facing life behind bars EVER cared about test scores.
Red flags I see now, that I think we can do something about, is how we prioritize our children, and what each kid needs PRIOR to sitting for a standardized test! The red flag is that we’re going to need a lot more prisons and prep for more funerals otherwise!”
Nobody Puts Baby’s Toys In The Corner
“My mom teaches special ed and self-contained and one student, in particular, stands out. This student always kept toys with them to keep them calm during class but, for obvious reasons, was told she can’t bring them during tests. My mom was pretty lax on this if she didn’t think the student would cheat and allowed her to bring them anyways.
Fast forward a bit to the student needing to take the SAT and my mom didn’t allow her to have her toys because she had a rulebook to follow. The following day the student looked at my mom, whispered our home address and kid’s names (including me) and said: ‘Don’t take my toys.’ My mom has taught over 30 years and that’s the only student she noped out of teaching.”
A High-Functioning Hurricane
“I’ve had a few kids over the years that have made me very nervous. One of my first years teaching, a middle schooler’s house burnt down and it was pretty much decided he did it… with his younger siblings in the house… hoping he would kill them. The parents said he made stuff up and that wasn’t true, but eventually, he disappeared and they ran. It wasn’t their house, either, just a rental. I’m guessing when the official report came out that the fire was set intentionally they skipped town.
The worst is probably a kid who is still in school where I work. Extremely violent. Snaps all the time. Any kind of stimulation, good or bad, sets him off and he explodes. Throws desks and chairs, get on top of the vending machine, runs from the building, tries to hurt people. He has an IEP. I don’t think the SPED department is dealing with him appropriately and the parents insist he doesn’t do this at home and it’s all our fault. He’s exactly like those kids featured on A Dangerous Son except he’s a big kid. Big enough he could easily take an adult out if he got the opportunity.
Needless to say… I’m not happy to work in that environment.”
The Death Of Christ: Remastered
“I once had a young student, in a fit of frustration, say that he wished he could ‘take me to his Dad’s shed’. Alarm bells rang immediately and the boys family was contacted since we obviously worried about the possibility of abuse.
Upon investigation, it was found that the only thing going on in ‘the shed’ was the boy taking mice and squirrels he caught in his neighborhood and literally crucifying them on little paddle pop-stick crosses. A few had even been set alight.”
As Far As Artistic Expression Goes
“Had a student threaten to kill a teacher. You know. As an artistic joke. In theater class.
Admin passes it over. It’s fine.
Later, on the day of the Parkland shooting, he’s one of the many, many kids arrested nationwide for threatening a copycat.
You know. As a joke.”
“My auntie has a story. When she was a young teacher, probably mid-twenties, she was a sub for a high school class. This would have been about 30 years ago now. Anyway, she’s in the classroom and there’s this one boy in the class. Apparently, he was big, like over 6 feet. And when he enters the room, he closes the door behind him.
The class pretty much went silent watching him, and he says stuff to my auntie about how ‘we could do whatever we wanted to you, you know? We could tie you up. Take off your clothes.’ He was saying it all seemingly seriously.
My auntie was freaked out a bit but pretended she wasn’t. Just told him ‘don’t be stupid, go sit down.’ He did, and she opened the door again and made an excuse to leave the room, going straight to the coordinator or deputy principal or someone to tell them what happened and that she was quite freaked. Their response was basically ‘Nah he was probably joking’.
She has no choice but to go back, but it definitely spooked her.”
A Pacified Rage
“I subbed for this 6th-grade teacher a lot. She had this student who seemed like a harmless, but obviously mentally and physically disabled kid. Whenever I saw him he was calm, drooled, and carried an iPad so he could semi-communicate. He didn’t seem 100% there at any given time, but like I said he seemed harmless.
Halfway through the school year the teacher I subbed for decided that I should probably know to steer clear of this kid if he gets any sort of mood other than calm. Like if he is upset that it’s cloudy I can’t talk to him.
He also had an adult that followed him everywhere. I assumed this guy was a para (people that help IEP kids) but no he was a legit handler for this kid.
Took me a while to dig this kid’s backstory up but apparently, this kid has to be incapacitated to high heaven to just be at school (hence the drooling and super passive behavior 99% of the time). Apparently, he is ultra crazy aggressive and if he gets into any bad mood it means his meds are wearing off and he’s a ticking time bomb. His ‘meltdowns’ cause school lockdowns because of how violent he is towards himself and others. There is a literal designed plan for this kid if he snaps (hence the handler).
I feel bad for the kid because he will be on his meds forever and the fact that he probably has some incurable rage issue or brain problem. But sweet Jesus the kid terrifies me now that I know.”
A Lifetime Stalker
“I had a friend at school that turned stalker. Always showed up at my house – drew satanic stuff at all times. Cut himself severely and play harmful games. Last I saw of him he showed up at my work at an indoor pool I lifeguarded. On his BMX. In a car, it took 30 minutes from my house to get to work and he lived 20 minutes further from me so at least a two and a half hour ride one way. He just walked in, handed me an envelope and continued his walk out saying nothing. I read it on a break and it was a three-page letter stating he was beyond in love with me and if I wouldn’t be his girlfriend, he was going to kill himself at a certain time the next day. I never responded.
Fast forward 5 years at a bonfire and he walks up, sits next to me on the tailgate and says well hello (my name). He was covered head to toe with random tattoos of swastikas and demonology and proceeded to ask where I lived and who my boyfriend’s name was. I said I’m engaged and that’s none of your business. He says, ‘Oh well I’ll find out.’ Weird things started happening like feeling watched and things in my house being moved. A car was blown up next to our house by a person who was trying to make a point…since we have moved I have yet to hear or see him again.”
There’s A Reason This Program No Longer Exists
“I was doing a co-op placement as an educational assistant when studying Sociology.
Had a student in the class (with behavioral problems mind you) walk up to another teacher who was pregnant and proceed to tell her he was going to cut the fetus out of her.
Nobody really knew how to react, and the tone in his voice/look in his eyes was up there with the evilest stuff I’ve seen up till that point in my life.
He had severe behavioral problems related to his disability. He was sent home and kept at home for a number of weeks but was eventually allowed back to class. This was an experimental program (no longer exists) at this one high school for rather severe behavioral issues, so the rules were bent quite a bit while I was there.
He was a rather pleasant kid more often than not, but when he had his bad days he was one of the worst in respects to violence and threats.”
I Love You
“When I was a sophomore, I had a friend who was kind of.. strange. We all liked him well enough, he had a dark sense of humor and would often tell stories nobody really believed. He would constantly joke about having snuff films and being involved in trafficking paraphernalia and weapons. He was like 15, so nobody really took him seriously and honestly when he started being weird we would just change the conversation and move on. At one point, he started talking to himself. I mean, full blown conversations standing by himself.
I remember once asking him if he was alright and he would say things like, ‘I don’t want to talk about it, they’re just talking really loud’ and wouldn’t go into much more detail. he would disappear for weeks at a time, and then show up again at school and act like he was never gone. The first time I was ever actually scared of him, it was because he started texting my phone from multiple numbers asking me if I ever thought about taking other people’s lives. I probably should’ve gone to someone about that right away, but I was a kid and I was terrified so I kept my mouth shut. At one point he disappeared yet again for about a week, and wouldn’t answer any phone calls or texts asking if he was alright.
One day, a security guard from my school came and picked me up from class and took me to a room in the back of the front office where two police officers were waiting for me. I was being heavily interrogated, and they told me that the kid had an extremely detailed plan to carry out a violent school shooting, hit list and all. A kid I had known for about 4 years, and it was terrifying. While he was in jail, I started getting text messages from random phone numbers explaining details from his school shooting plan. He would also tell me he loved me every time he texted me. I still don’t know how he got the opportunity to text my phone or how he even got my phone number. Scary stuff.”