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Workplace safety...what do you think?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I'll try to keep this brief but I kind of need to get this out and would like some feedback. Don't be afraid to tell me I'm wrong and selfish, I want honesty.

I work in the mental health field as a Community Support AP, or "mentor". My job consists of working one on one with children/adolescents with mental, emotional, and behavioral problems. Typically my clients range in age from 9 to 16 and have ADHD, ODD, childhood schizophrenia, autism, and so on. Some clients receive so many hours of services that you spend the entire day with them which means actually sitting in the classroom or wherever they are with them. I've been doing this job for the same company for almost 2 years. In that time I've had roughly 15 clients. Of those 15 clients I have previously declined to work with one client after 3 weeks due to his gang involvement. Well, a month ago I was assigned to his cousin. During that time we have had a decent relationship but not outstanding. Most clients do not want a mentor in the first place and can be a real handful. I have never and will never decline services to a client that I just don't get along with or gives me a hard time as I feel that is part of my job. However, during the past 2 weeks this client has been involved in a number of gang confrontations while I have been with him. Today there was talk of guns and people being shot. The community college where I take him has many members of opposing gangs getting their GEDs. Maybe it's the whole Va. Tech situation or something but today I just said I can't do this. I called my boss and told her and she basically said "well just call me later and tell me how things are going". I don't think she really "got" that I meant it, I can't work in these conditions. I called her back tonight and left a long message but have not heard back from her. Basically I feel like I will bend over backwards for any of the kids I serve, allow them to verbally abuse me, put up with any of their issues and try to help them but I'm not going to put myself in a position to possibly be shot. I feel bad like I am abandoning a client, but I just can't do it. What do you think?
post #2 of 11
cant say i blame you if you feel that you are at risk.
then you need to do what you have to.
post #3 of 11
i do not blame you hon- i think you made the right call. i would not intentionally put myself in a position to be placed in harms way eithor. so i think sometimes making difficult calls like that can be hard- but very necessary. i think sometimes people ignore that little voice of instict they have inside them that helps them know when to avoid certain situations- i'm glady you are listening to yours! i would refuse to work with that child and i would also make the school and any other people involved with him well aware of his comments and the sitauation. i hate to say it- but at this point, it's not safe to wait and see if anything happens- you have to take immedaite action and err on the side of caution.
post #4 of 11
I see nothing wrong with setting limitations. You put yourself at enough risk without taking on gang related troubles,I'm sure. Surely your boss can relate?
post #5 of 11
Your concern is completely understandable. And maybe a male mentor would be better for someone like this, less likely to attract the attention of potential adversaries.

Can you speak to the client directly and explain why? Will he understand?
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
Talked to my boss this morning, she was very understanding and fully supportive. Also talked to the client and his mother explaining the situation. As for the type of mentor he needs, well, I actually am a male. What he needs is a black male (as he responds to black men very well) that doesn't mind being in the middle of gang confrontations.
post #7 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by phishmarisol View Post
Talked to my boss this morning, she was very understanding and fully supportive. Also talked to the client and his mother explaining the situation. As for the type of mentor he needs, well, I actually am a male. What he needs is a black male (as he responds to black men very well) that doesn't mind being in the middle of gang confrontations.
Glad to hear that!

There is only so much that one person can tolerate. Recognizing what you can do will only benefit the person you're helping that much more. Otherwise if you're concerned with your own safety, you're not dedicating the energy you need for the kid.
post #8 of 11
Oops! Sorry! I used to know a girl named Marisol, so I assumed...
post #9 of 11
dont worry, people get confused here all th time
they assume every one here is female.
which last time i check, i was not
post #10 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by theimp98 View Post
dont worry, people get confused here all th time
they assume every one here is female.
which last time i check, i was not
You're a minority Bruce. Not many crazy cat men 'round these parts!

I'm glad you worked the situation out. If you genuinely are not comfortable, technically those are you're working conditions....
post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by CarolPetunia View Post
Oops! Sorry! I used to know a girl named Marisol, so I assumed...
No problem, I get asked/teased about it all the time. It's not my real name or anything, and it's just something that one of my stoner friends called me in high school for no apparent reason. When I got my first email account 10 years ago I used it in there and it stuck.
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