I can’t remember if I mentioned an incident that happened at my 7 year old daughter’s school – involving a 14 year old boy walking onto the playground during after school care and getting her to lift up her skirt. I can’t even be bothered to go through my own blogs to see if it was mentioned! Forgive me, I bore myself!
In a brief summary, my husband and I were very unhappy that our daughter hadn’t been supervised, that an older boy had gotten onto the playground and been able to establish a rapport (grooming), and that the teacher on duty had subsequently shouted at our daughter for it. We initiated (yes, WE) a meeting with the principal. He has the personality of a wet cornflake. Even that might be too flattering and offensive to the cornflake. He felt that our daughter should accept some accountability for lifting her skirt. I asked him if he was familiar with the phrase ‘victim blaming’ – a term lost on him. He was defensive about the lack of supervision, citing lack of staffing and ‘stressed staff.’ My recommendations to increase staff and change current staff were not met with enthusiasm. Furthermore, when I suggested tighter security I was told that this was a ‘community school’ and they certainly weren’t going to ‘lock down.’ Overall, Cornflake didn’t take kindly to being spoken to assertively by a woman. Yes, he’s one of those men. If I’d have fluttered my eyelashes and licked his balls, he would have been in his element, but as I queried his management and suggested certain teachers took retirement he became uncomfortable and clearly had to suppress the urge to shout at my husband to control me.
As we felt ‘unheard’ we followed the next step, going to the board of trustees.
While of all of this has been going on, Cornflake and his army of coffee morning mothers have been using petty excuses to get at me. Where I park usually, but it can be anything, from something I did/didn’t do, or even my old favourite of talking oh so loudly near me – which I like to counteract by playing heavy metal music. Make no mistake – I don’t make life easy for myself! The bitches want go talk, I’ll give them something to talk about.
The Trustee meeting was fairly routine, small hick town, everyone is thick as two short planks. But we had already taken the girls out of the afterschool care and found a fantastic one which is safe, friendly and where they can actually play because the staff aren’t lazy old gits. The minutes from the meeting were passed onto the police (at my request because I wanted the boy found and spoken to) and school policy meant Child, Youth and Family. But just to be real arseholes about it, the school ‘forgot’ to send us a copy of the report and in that report detailed the next steps.
Imagine my horror when I received a call from Child Youth and Family today. It was out of the blue and just put me in a full tail spin. The woman I spoke to was incredibly nice. She was surprised that the school hadn’t been in contact but had seen all the communication between us so realised it wasn’t a good relationship. She had already met my children which further upset me. How can all of this occurred without my knowledge? She told me they were wonderful, healthy, happy children – my other daughters were witness to my 7 year old lifting her skirt. So they were asked about the incident, their thoughts and feelings. I became emotional upon hearing this over the phone. My daughters were asked these things and I wasn’t present? Or even there afterwards or help explain or reassure them? I think that they may have been confused, unsettled. The social worker tried to reassure me that she was very child focused but it’s still painful to hear. Their responses were wonderful. Happy and content, for that I am extremely grateful. As a mother I worry all the time, am I making the right choices? Am I damaging them somehow because I am so damaged? But they are just ordinary, healthy children.
She did tell me that she asked them if they were familiar with good touching vs bad touching. Which of course I’ve drummed into them from a very early age and talk to them about repeatedly. The woman said it was great that we did that. But even as we talked about it, I felt those prickles, the shortness of breath creeping up.
By the end of the call we were chatting like old friends – as my work history is extensively in social work. But when I put the phone down I just felt drained.
There seems to be a culmination of events at the moment. The nightmares are gaining momentum, I suppose I’m jumpy because of the dark winter evenings. I guess I find myself thinking about England a lot – probably because the weather is so bloody miserable.
Anyway, days like today don’t help. I’m just so relived that my daughters are safe and healthy. I would do anything to protect them. And any parent that chooses not to, you don’t deserve to live.