Wednesday, September 28, 2005

The issue is abuse.

The question is out of my hands. My response is clear-cut and was defined long before I became a teacher. There is a specific course of action when this is presented to any teacher. That course begins with a call to Social Services. They are to begin the process and the paper trail.

One of my students came to me this afternoon and told me that he/she didn't feel up to working in the shop. "A" would have been satisfied to take a "0" for the 10-point daily grade. This was unacceptable to me. While I cannot force a student to participate, I can find other ways for that student to participate. This was the case today. A expressed a non-desire to work on the class assignment. A further told me of an abusive action which occurred at home involving A and A's parents. A showed me bruising, which when asked if I wanted to see, if I didn't believe, I responded with a "no need. I believe you."

I fully realize these are 15 to 18 year old students, which will occasionally have disagreements with, and run crossways with parents. Even then, there is a line between punishment and abuse. Punishment will sometime bring the anger to the surface and cause screams of abuse, even when they are not warranted. These cannot afford to be ignored. If it is just the cry of an angry student, it is still needful to be brought to the attention of those best suited to resolve whatever issue brought it to the surface. Especially if it is abuse, of any kind, it needs to be addressed.

My personal feelings aside, it is still an issue that cannot be ignored. No child deserves to live in fear. I cannot cure the ills of society. I cannot alleviate the suffering of every child. However, if I can stop one parent from abusing one child, I have made a difference. Too often, we get the idea that we must act in broad strokes to make a difference. This is simply not true. The most of the work in done in the trenches, in small acts. This is my small act. I made the report. The calls were made. Action is being taken.

How much difference it will make in A's life, I cant guess. Nonetheless, it will not be because I stood idly by and did nothing.

1 comment:

TammyJ said...

I can't think of the man I married doing anything less than taking the steps necessary to protect a child.. My prayers are with A and family..I know how hard that decision is to make but you know you made the right one.. I love you.