top of page


Darius (alias) walks into the classroom visibly angry over an argument he has just had with his mother on the way to the school. He wanted chocolate for breakfast, and mum refused. He walks into class using the ‘F’ word at every child he lays his eyes on. He urinates in the classroom and rubs faeces on the walls. He had been doing this since he was 5 years old. Darius was never diagnosed during his early years, but he displayed symptoms of the Autism Spectrum Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. His mother had a really challenging time working full time at a grocery store and coming home to another full-throttle episode with him that left her exhausted every day. His teachers dreaded every day. He rarely had good days. However, the school had not given up on him. Despite the struggle with his behaviour, his fearless use of swear words, and intimidating attitude towards other children, the school supported him and his mother in all ways they could. Slowly, but surely, he started to calm down. It took about 4 years of compassion from the terrified staff and dedicated leadership on a daily basis before he managed to learn how to regulate his emotions. But then came, Covid19! With the advent of Covid19, social distancing, masks, and sanitizing hands became a norm in schools. The virus spread rapidly through microdroplets suspended in the air. I can almost hear the Head saying, ‘It couldn’t get any worse than this’. Except it did. Darius started spitting at other children, licking them, rubbing his snot on them, and more. This was clearly putting other children at a greater risk at a time when the spread of the virus was peaking. The school was trying its best. The behaviour mentor, along with the leadership, wrote up a contract for Darius in which he agreed that the consequence of spitting or breaching the Covid19 protective measures would lead to him being suspended from attending school for a week. Although Darius loved coming to school, this did not really work. He got suspended twice. The third time, I happened to be around when he was bubbling up. I could sense that something was going to happen, but I decided to keep my calm. Darius was eating his after-school snack. I walked over to the piano we have in the hall. I started playing a melody on the piano. He heard it whilst fighting his urge to yell and throw his food in the air. He sheepishly walked towards the piano and asked if he could try. I asked him to sit next to me. He tried a few keys. Then banged on them in excitement. I asked him politely to play it softly. As he explored the piano further, I left him be and walked away to a distance. The next day, there was something unusually exciting that Darius was looking forward to. He was waiting to get another chance at the piano. At the end of the day, I played for a few minutes and gestured at him to come and play. As he sat at the piano, I walked away to a distance. After a few minutes of experimenting, behold! We were gobsmacked. We could not believe what we saw or heard. Darius started to play the first verse of ‘Fur Elise’ by Mozart. A miracle it was. Or at least it seemed so. The boy had been hearing Fur Elise somewhere, and the melody stayed in his mind. He expressed the melody without making a mistake. The Headteacher was in shock. He approached Darius’ mother when she arrived and said to her, ‘I wanted to come and see you personally because every day I have only negative news for you but today I want to tell you that I heard your son play the piano and it was beautiful.’ He nudged Darius to go back and play it for his mother. As the mother heard the melody played, her eyes swelled up. The boy who people dreaded, who had made her life unbearably difficult, she realized was more than what he was on the outside. Darius still has tough days ahead of him. Secondary school is going to be challenging. But there is hope for him because there is a school that fights every day to protect him, to love him, to support him and his family. Miracles like these happen all the time in places we call schools. Let us just take a moment to be appreciative of these places, no matter how many flaws they (or we) have. Author: Vijith Vijay Twitter: Facebook: Instagram: @vijithvijayphotography Email:


bottom of page