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Bizarre Incident--suggestions please (long)


Full Member
I had, perhaps, the most bizarre thing happen today that I have ever experienced in my entire teaching career. I really would appreciate any and all thoughts on what took place and advice about how you would handle it.

At the very end of the day, literally as I was calling groups to pack up for dismissal, one of my third-grade students came to me visibly upset to ask if he could speak to me. Since I had bus duty and we were already running late, I initially tried to brush him off by asking if we could discuss it tomorrow. At this point, the child began to sob uncontrollably. Obviously, I knew that I needed to address the problem then and there, so I asked him what was wrong. Even though I had pulled him aside to talk to him privately, he was nonetheless visible to the rest of the class. He proceeded to tell me at great length and in elaborate detail that his seven year-old cousin had been shot and killed the previous day. By this time he was completely distraught. I tried to question him as delicately as I could to find out what exactly had taken place and to offer whatever consolation I could. I assured him that I would speak to his parents to see what help they could offer to get him through his sadness and, also, that I would set aside time tomorrow to speak to him further. At this point, he had the full attention of the rest of the class and many of them (even the ones who have had personality clashes with him in the past) quickly stepped up to try to comfort him.

As soon as I was able to get to a phone, I called the father to let him know what had taken place and to ask if there was anything in particular that I could do to further help the child. I was completely dumbfounded when the father told me that there was not an ounce of truth in what I had been told by the boy. I then described how convincing the child had been in pulling off this charade, not only to me, but to his classmates as well. I expressed concern that this was obviously an extreme move to attract attention and that this degree of elaborate detail whereby the child seemed to be unable, or unwilling, to distinguish fact from fiction, was not normal for a nine year old. I strongly suggested that the father speak to the pediatrician and seek counseling to get to the root of the issues that might be provoking this behavior. I also stated that the child has been demonstrating an increasingly high level of truth-stretching in recent weeks, but that this episode was far beyond my scope of professional expertise. The father said he would discuss it with the child, but, in all likelihood, there will be nothing further that will happen.

What disturbs me most about this whole thing is that I have a couple of students who have witnessed this type of violence in their own families and I am very concerned about what kind of turmoil this might precipitate in them, especially since this child really pulled out all of the stops to garner sympathy.

Has anyone ever experienced something like this? How did you handle it? If you have never personally had this happen, what would you do in such a situation? How do I ever believe what this kid says in the future? HELP!! :(



Unreal! I would not know what to say in such a situation. What a horrible thing to lie about. I wonder why he did it? If it just to get attention I wonder why he chose to make up something so awful. I would get your school counselor involved and perhaps arrage a meeting with the counselor the student and yourself and the parents if they'll come. You didnt go into much detail about how the father reactd to this news. Was he outraged? or just matter of fact like it was no big deal?

Somehow this child must be made aware of how awful his actions truly were. If it's just up to you I would have a conference with him and tell him directly how disappointed you are in him and his decision to lie about something like that. I would have no problem telling him that now it will be very hard for you to trust him again and he will be held accountable for his deception (i.e...do not let him play at recess for awhile or make him write a letter of apology to the class for his lying)
I do not like to embarrass a student; however, that was pretty awful. He needs to apologize and have consequences for his actions.
Good luck


Senior Member
Similar Incidents

I have a student in my classroom (4th) who frequently tells classmates that his neighbors are trying to kill him....His bio. father is trying to kill him, his mother, and brother....etc. There is no truth to this either. It goes beyond paranoid. It's an attention device. The child is brilliant, but chooses to "capture" attention. I also wonder about the homelife, but that's another issue.

Sorry for your distress.


Senior Member
Students Lie

I would have him apoligize to the class for telling an untruth. I would also inform the principal. If a child can lie like that you better watch your back. What kind of lie can he tell on you. I had a student stole from my classroom and we found the items in the backpack. Guess what she lied to a point that she even lied on her mom. Her mom was upset but turned around and said I was lying. I asked the principal to remove her from my room and he did.
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Full Member
It almost makes you wonder if something is going on at home and he is trying to get attention. Maybe something bad is going on with him and he is indeed covering it up. Then again he could just be lying. I agree with getting the guidance department involved. He has a big problem one way or another.


Senior Member
wow, indeed

I would also recommend a visit with the school counselor, maybe with the student only, then bring in parents for another conference. Clearly there is something behind such an elaborate story.


Full Member
More information

I did leave a message for the guidance counselor to speak to me first thing in the morning and also told both the Acting Principal and Acting Assistant Principal about what had happened just as a heads-up.

When I called the father, he was pretty much matter of fact about the whole thing. Unfortunately, I was so flabberghasted about the depth of the kid's lie that I didn't even think to ask the dad if there might be anything that he could think of going on with the boy that would cause him resort to such a course of action. Dad's lack of affect now leads me to wonder what's happening in the home. A nine year-old simply does not unleash this kind of emotional display without something precipitating it. The more I think about it, there has to be an underlying issue that triggered the whole thing.


Full Member
MIddle School

We had a middler schooler tell everyone that her brother was killed in Iraq. He was not!


New Member
Playground justice

I wouldn't worry about it. The kids will never let him forget about making up such a lie. I'm surprised you haven't noticed them teasing him already...:eek:



I love your icon! I had a good laugh!

I confess!!! I do think those things:o (sometimes).


Senior Member
Yes, unfortunately I have experienced this. The child in my case was emotionally disturbed and had already been seeing a psychologist for a long time. The parents needed some help to understand why the other children were calling him a "liar" when they were just harmless "stories".

On the positive side, his peers quickly learned not to react to the lies and did not appear adversely affected.


New Member
The Robber's

We recently had an incident at our school. A student told several teachers in his Title 1 reading class that the school had been broken into that previous night. He went on to explain that the doors had been broken into from the inside and the evidence was still there (not). He went on to say that all the animals in the 4th/5th grade classrooms were murdered and blood was everywhere. There are no animals in the 4th/5th grade rooms! He explained that blood was all over in the 2nd/3rd grade girls bathrooms (how he knew this was anyone's guess). He proceeded to take this same talk out to recess (after the teachers and aides told him it was not true) and told so many kids, who told kids, who told more kids . . . that the Principal finally had to announce over the loud speaker that the school had not been broken in to and everyone was safe. We had girls hysterical who refused to go to the bathroom because they thought the robber's were still in there, another yarn this boy told! We were beside ourselves because this story kept getting larger and more dramatic by the minute. We never really found out why he said this stuff, especially since there was no proof anywhere! We had several people talk to him including the principal, the school counselor, and his parents. He still tells fibs, but now the kids know he is truely the boy who cries wolf.


Full Member

Thanks to everyone who took the time to reply. I wanted to give you an update.

When the kiddo arrived this morning, I pulled him aside as soon as he walked through the door. I told him that I had been very worried about him because he had been so upset yesterday. He tried to put a puzzled expression on his face and said, "When?" I said, "Do you remember at the end of the day when you spoke to me and started crying really hard? Do you remember what you told me had happened?" Again, the feigned look of puzzlement. I reminded him that he had put on his display in front of the entire class and that all of the others had reached out to him to try to help him. "Oh, yeah, that. I told you my cousin had died." That's when I nailed him. I asked him if his dad had talked to him last night because I had called to let dad know about the incident and I was told that there was absolutely no truth to it. The little stinker then tried to feed me another line of baloney. I said that, while I wanted to be able to help him when he needs me, I have to be able to trust what he says and that his lying would not allow me to do that. I asked him what dad had said to him and kiddo said dad told him that liars end up in jail and that's where he was headed if he didn't tell the truth!!! :eek: Dad also told him that he had to apologize to the whole class. He was pretty surprised when I agreed that would be the right thing to do. After 'fessing up, the rest of the class was pretty much ticked off at him and let him have it. They even made a connection to the story about the boy who cried "wolf" which made a nice segue for a discussion.

The thing that galls me most is that this eight-year old treated this as a big joke and no big deal. If nothing else, my crystal ball forsees a career as a con man. Maybe dad's prediction of where the kid will end up is on the money, too!! :D


Full Member
Familiar Situation

Oddly enough I had a child (Kindergarten) try to tell me one day that her uncle has accidentally shot her younger brother and that he had died. She proceeded to explain what had happened that weekend at home causing the terrible accident. I had a feeling this child was making all this up since she picked nap time as the time to tell me this. She frequently is sad at naptime and wants to talk to me. Her father did pass away a little over a year ago, and she daily reminds me her "daddy died." She also makes songs up about him being in heaven and never seeing him again!? So I asked several questions about the supposed death of the brother, in the end when I explained to her why she should not make up stories, and that she didn't have to lie to get my attention, I would be more interested in her telling the truth; she closed by saying, "Oh, I meant in my dream."

What is going on with children these days!?!??!