Day 49: Make a citizen’s arrest!

Before I attempted this task, I did a bit of research.

And by research, I mean I went to Wikipedia (it’s totally the best place to start). Then I googled “citizen’s arrests in Texas” and found some long thing at the Texas DPS website. And, basically, a “citizen’s arrest” is only a thing I can do if I see a serious breach of the peace or a felony being committed – in which case, who wouldn’t do something?

Yeah.

I didn’t see any felonies in progress today, nor any serious breaches in the peace, so I couldn’t actually “arrest” anybody. I did, though, have occasion to ponder the human tendency toward indifference and inaction.

I have a student this semester who disappeared during the second week of class – he wrote the in-class essay that was the first grade in the course, and then never came back. After a few consecutive absences, I thought about emailing him, but never seemed to have time to get around to it – after all, I thought, he’s an adult, he can make his own decisions. Sometime last week, he showed up as “withdrawn” in my online roster, and I assumed he’d withdrawn from the university.

Then he showed up in class today. He’s missed an entire unit – the rest of the class read a novel, read a few related articles, and wrote papers about the whole mess, which they turned in today. We talked after class: he said he had some personal/family issues, made some bad decisions – like skipping all his classes – but he’s had a change of heart, and wants to give it another go. I told him that was fine, but he was going to have to work his ass off to catch up.

He might, he might not. That’s not really the point – the point is that I, because indifference is easy, allowed someone that I had some measure of responsibility for slip through the cracks. That’s not a good thing to realize about oneself.

But: he’s getting a second chance, and so am I – and, really, this isn’t that big a deal. Hell, I got kicked out of college the first time around for the same reason, and I turned out alright. And if that can be said of me…

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