Gang Leader to Graduate – A Conscious Discipline Transformation

Gang Leader to Graduate – A Conscious Discipline Transformation

October 13, 2019 26 By Stanley Isaacs


How long do you think it takes to change the life of a child? My name is DJ Batiste. I was born in Lacombe, Louisiana. I was raised by my grandmother. I was born to a fourteen year old mom and a sixteen year old dad. So they were young, they weren’t really able to make too many decisions. I was very defiant though. I loved getting in trouble because getting in trouble got you attention. Now I was the type of student who loved getting attention and I did whatever it took to get attention. I was the leader of a gang and let me tell you why. Because in a gang we got a sense of security and a sense of belonging. We feel like these my homies. They
gonna take care of me they got me no matter what. So they give us this sense of belonging.
Fight. Fight. That was our only option. We had a disagreement, we fought. Whether we playin’ basketball or we playin’ hide-n-go-seek. it didn’t matter, if there was disagreement, we’d fight. So I was raised like that it was instilled in my head. There wasn’t no other option, you fight you fight you fight you have to be violent. I’m gonna tell you. We like to fight in school, cause we knew we had a crowd. So we continued to be kicked out of school. We’d jump people. So much violence. There was never, never a second thought. When it came to my head, that’s what I did. If I wanted to fight. Boom! I’m fightin’. If you’re close enough where I can put my hands on you, I’m hittin you in your mouth. That’s just how I was. I did go to juvenile. Twice. Me and my homeboys ridin’ one time we got pulled over by the police. The police found some pistols. Pistols in the trunk. Pistols up under the seats. Out of all the times we had guns on us headin’ to go do somethin’ the police never stopped us. This time we were just ridin’ around with the guns and he stopped us. And they confiscated all the guns, took us down, took the guns. Yeah. Pretty bad. It was my first day of my senior year of school and everybody was always tellin’ me. “Since you hate school so much, so ready to get out of school then why don’t you
just go put forth little effort and finish your senior year?” And I didn’t look at it like that, I looked at school like a place where I can associate. I can make people laugh. I can be a leader still, cause people wanna see me. People wanna follow me. I can look at girls. And if anything is going on between the hours of eight and three it’s going to happen in school. So I didn’t want to miss it. So that was my little motivation for school, to go to school because I didn’t want to miss anything. And I walked in to Ms. P’s class – that’s what I call her. Ms. P’s class – late. My name is Donna Porter and I teach public speaking at Peking Memorial High School in Peking, Mississippi. I knew. When I sat back and thought about it, when you’re late to something, everybody looks at you. And all the sudden the door flings open and this huge student that I’ve never seen in my life walks in and says. What’s up? And she looked and I said, “What’s up?” And I just had the attention of the class that fast. My first thought is, “Why did this happen to me on the first day of school when I’m trying to set the tone?” And then I thought “I’ve got this. Thank goodness I’ve got this.” But to be able to access my brilliance I have to take a deep breath, stay composed, watch him, look at his non-verbal language because
all behavior is purposeful. She said “Well I notice you’re late to my room. There’s no problem, because you probably couldn’t find it.” I just kinda looked at her with this crazy look like “Yeah. Whatever.” Then she was like, “Well have a seat.” And I looked at her and I said, “Do you have any kids?” And I said, “Well actually, your name DJ? Mr. Batiste, I have two. I just informed the class about them because you missed my room you didn’t hear.” “So, are you married?” He said. I said, “Well actually I just told the class, I’ve been married for thirty years.” I stepped back and said “Thirty years?” Folded my arms, looked up and down and said, “Well don’t you think it’s time for a change?” Now at that point in time right there I expected her to get red in the face. Lose her composure. Run to her desk, get a referral, write me up, and send me out. I was ready for that, that’s what I expected. and that I have learned that the brain seeks patterns. So I had dealt with the pattern my brain was seeking. You be disrespectful, you get sent out of class, but you get the attention that you want. She didn’t do that. She looked at me, she smiled and said, “Do you go to the doctor “when you well?” And he looked at me very funny and he said, “No. You go to the doctor when you’re sick.” I said. “Do you come to school when you know everything?” He said, “I guess not. I guess you come supposedly to learn.” I said “You got a lot to learn and I can’t
wait to teach you.” And then I left him with that feeling of
angst. And then I said. “You know what I notice more importantly about you? You have charisma.” “Charisma?” She said, “Do you know what that means?” I said, “I’m cute?” And everybody in the class laughed. And she was like “Something like that. You just know how to work a room. You know?” I’m just listening to her. She threw me off cause she started talking good about me after I wanted her to get into a power struggle with me, that’s what I wanted. And I said, “So I’ve been thinking in the last few seconds I give jobs to my students in high
school. You know anything about jobs in school?” He said, “Oh yeah. In kindergarten I was the line leader.” I said, “Hm. We don’t have a line leader in high
school. We have appropriate jobs and I usually
take a week or so to figure out what job would best fit what student. I do a multiple intelligence survey. We tell a little bit about ourselves. But you know what DJ? I don’t need to do all that with you. Because you’re innately designed to be a greeter.” And he said “A greeter? What’s that?” A greeter is someone who will stand at my door every morning. As everybody come in I get to shake everybody hand appropriately hug the girls. That blew my mind. And on top of that, she said, I can come up to the front of her class and have my own session from two to three minutes. How does that sound? That’s what she said. I said, “It sounds too good to be true. So let me run it back to you. I said, “So you mean to tell me I get to stand outside your classroom, shake everybody hand who comes by. And on top of that I get to come in front of the class and have my own session?” She was like, “Yeah.” I said, “I want to try this.” And she was like, “But there is one catch.” And I remember I dropped my head cause I knew it was something, you know? “All you have to do is be on time.” Because if you’re my greeter, that means you have to be the first one here so everyone gets a chance to see you and to shake your hand before they walk in my classroom. And I just remember shaking my head like alright. I’ll try this. There was something, that I couldn’t tell yet, but it was something that I didn’t know and I was thing I’ll try this. She said, “Okay pick up your backpack that you threw down and go have a seat.” and that was the first day of my new
life. Day two, I’m standing in the hall and I see this mass of people just parting and the only figurative language I could think of was Moses parting the Red Sea. And here comes this huge guy and I hear these words that are so important for anybody watching this video “Everybody move out of my way I’ve got to get to Ms. Porter’s class on time because listen, I have a job to do. I have a job to do.” A disconnected child is a discouraged child. He needed to be encouraged and everyday
he stood from day two. He’d been in the criminal justice center,
he’d been expelled from alternative school, he’d been in in-school
isolation, out of school suspension, nothing worked. All he needed was to be encouraged and he became my greeter. We usually have
jobs just every nine weeks but by unanimous vote of the class he became
the year-long greeter. Because they felt nobody could do the job as well as DJ. I feel like the experiences that I went through in my life was meant to happen so I can come back and help kids, help teachers understand. I have a gift that I need to share,
a testimony that I would like to share, and I know I can help kids along with teachers. Often times teachers get into it with students they have problems with students because they don’t have the skills and I feel like anytime I can help a teacher get the
skills, she has a chance to save a life and I often tell teachers I want you to
have the same success story that Ms. Porter have. I want you to have that student that you walk
down the aisle with to that graduation. I want you to have that student who says he
owes his life to you. And the only reason she had that was because she had the skills of Conscious Discipline. So anything that’s dealing with Conscious Discipline, I’m all for. How long to change a child’s life? 90 seconds In a system of education with increasing demands Conscious Discipline answers the question. Are you willing? ConsciousDiscipline.com