You Can't Hide

Some days I feel so care free, I wonder if I imagined the terror of the last 2 years, or the abuse itself.

I'm not really sure what God wants me to take from today.

A parent of one of my students sent me an e-mail asking me to call her. She had something she needed to get my advice on but didn't want to discuss it via e-mail. I've known this woman for 4 years, as I had her older son in 2006. She subs for me on occasion so we've built a pretty advanced relationship for a teacher/parent. I wasn't really sure what she wanted to talk to me about, but was surprised when she told me she was concerned about one of the teachers in our department. Her son has this teacher and has said throughout the year that this teacher makes him really uncomfortable. Last weekend while at church her son and a bunch of his friends (who also go to my school) were talking about how he's always rubbing their backs, and calling them by little pet names and how it creeps them out. She said that her older son said the same thing when he was there, too, but she didn't really think too much about it because she thought it was just her son being over-sensitive.

The whole time I was thinking "Everything she is saying sounds exactly like what M used to do to me."

I could tell she was struggling with how to handle it as a mom, to go directly to the teacher (awkward) or to the administration (awkward again, but how do you make it non-accusational since he hasn't done anything and ensure that her son isn't singled out). She was trying to convince herself that it wasn't anything, that she was the one overreacting...

"He's married right? Not that it matters, but maybe it does."

All the while I'm thinking "Yeah. M was married... and had kids... and was friends with my entire family. It doesn't matter at all. That's what most of them are good at."

"It just takes one vulnerable kid in the wrong place at the right time."

"Yeah, tell me about it."

"It's probably nothing, but it has really been bothering me and I needed to talk to someone about it and see how I should proceed."

"Man, I wish my mom would have listened to me when I told her how uncomfortable M made me feel when he was always touching me."

I was able to stay composed and (hopefully) helpful in the conversation and we came up with a solution. I will be talking to our male assistant principal Monday in order to maintain confidentiality (and keep her son safe from being singled out). This way, the conversation with this other teacher can be male-to-male and with as few people knowing as possible.

How in the world is this happening in now seeping into my professional life? Can I not hide from it ever? Do I constantly have to be reminded of the fact that I was vulnerable? That no one listened to me? I am upset. I am confused. I am not feeling care-free anymore.


Bernie said...
April 9, 2010 at 11:47 PM

You are also doing the right thing, as you may be protecting innocent children just as you were.
........:-) Hugs

Stephanie said...
April 9, 2010 at 11:49 PM

It is so courageous of you to share your story with others. You could be saving others from the horror of what you had to endure.
God bless you! Keep up the brave work.

Anonymous said...
April 10, 2010 at 12:01 AM

Maybe you a the professional that needs to hear it because you can act as the amazing person you are and as the amazing teacher you are.

Colleen said...
April 10, 2010 at 12:49 AM

This gives you the chance to use what happened to you to help another. It is a positive thing. And I am proud of you. Hugs. (Sorry I have not been by to visit. Flu and Easter are my excuses!!)

Anonymous said...
April 10, 2010 at 6:46 AM

I am so sorry this is triggering you. I know it is hard and is bringing memories up. I had a situation like this with a client when I first began counseling. It was very complicated and involved a church. You are wise to proceed cautiously.
I am so glad you can be there to help someone else not have to go through such a horrible violation.


Paula said...
April 10, 2010 at 9:30 AM

This post took my breath away because I was treated inappropriately by a school teacher. This type of thing happens far too often. I am so glad you were there to listen and help. God is using you in a mighty way. ((hugs))

Rhonda said...
April 10, 2010 at 10:21 AM

I agree with Bernie. I find myself being overprotective of my students as well. One of my little girls has been restraining from going to the potty the past two weeks. She just keeps saying she'll do it at home. She's one of my most mature 3 year olds and I've never had potty issues with her. She's been more quiet, distant. In the back of my mind, I automatically jump to the conclusion that there may be some sort of sexual abuse going on. I just have to remind myself to keep a careful eye on her and not allow my fears to overwhelm me and make the mistake of jumping ahead to an accusation.

You sound like a wonderful teacher! Hang in there!!!

Just Be Real/God Whispers In The Wind said...
April 11, 2010 at 5:03 AM

Despite the painful memories Lily, God does have you there for a reason and that is to help out in this situation. Praying as you approach the assistant principal this week for the right words. Each trial we go through, if we are open to see and learn from our pain, we grow stronger, even though it can hurt really bad! ((((Lily))))

Harriet said...
April 11, 2010 at 7:02 PM

She probably came to you because she knows you are an empathetic trustworthy person. Perhaps because of your past experiences you now have these special characteristics.

I always told my kids to never be alone with a teacher, for detention, or to make up a test, etc. I told them that if the teacher has a problem with it he/she should call me. It's pretty terrible that you can't trust anyone.

But my rabbi turned out to be a pedophile, and I would have trusted him alone with my kids. So you never know.

Patricia Singleton said...
April 16, 2010 at 9:48 AM

Lily, this is probably happening because you are ready to look at any unresolved issues of your own in this area. You can also see that some adults (you) are willing to help children who find themselves in the situations that you were in as a child. Not all adults are like those that ignored you when you told as a child. You are being very courageous. Thank you for standing up for this child.