Yesterday a teacher from Maya's middle school was arrest for allegedly molesting four girls who are twelve years old, Maya's age. He is a 30 year teaching veteran. He could've possibly been a teacher when I attended the same school 27 years ago. He is an English As a Second Language teacher and this makes me even more mad. This teacher's list of great achievements is a mile-long and this has left teachers and parents confused and angry, obviously. And we all wait to hear if more victims surface.
This morning we had to have The Talk, again, with the girls. The Talk is about awareness, trusting and acting on your gut, being assertive and confident and speaking your mind; looking strangers in the eye, walking down the street with intent, with empowerment. I gave the entire Anti Victim Speech moments after shaking them awake. We have this talk often enough, but the urgency considering the proximity was unsettling. I drove the girls and two of Maya's friends to school for good measure, and we talked about it again with Maya's friends, one of whom hadn't heard the news yet. The girls weren't panicked or scared. They seem well-adjusted about it and confident in their Anti-Victim skills, but still . . . But still I sit here now trying to keep my stomach from churning the nauseousness. I was calm and reassuring during all the talks, but now, hours after dropping them off at school, I'm restless and emotional.
You want to lock them away on days like this. You want to snuggle them in a blanket and never leave the house. You want to kick a guy's head in; stomp him for taking advantage of kids that might feel lost already because of a language barrier. Kids who trusted. Kids who may have a harder time speaking up.
We watched Juno last night, which we loved at the time, and we spent a lot of time talking about the teen-pregnancy thing, but this morning I had to make sure that Maya understood how the Dancing with Jason Bateman Scene was an inappropriate situation for a 16 year old. These are the blurred lines that need defining for kids. It hadn't really dawned on her that anything was wrong with it. After talking about it she asked, "Could he get arrested for dancing with her?" I said, "No, but the dancing wasn't leading in a good direction. Any right-minded adult would have not let her dance with him." Maya could probably give my Anti-Victim speech by memory, but it's these subtleties that need clarification. THIS is when your gut probably says, This is not such a good idea. This is when you listen to your gut, girls.
We'll talk more later tonight I'm sure. We'll have to navigate through the after math of the dust storm created by kids' gossip and the countless callous news vans parked around the perimeter of the school; they're having a field day dramatically reporting the fracture of a well-reputed school. We'll define more lines and try to build more skills and I'll hold back the urge to tuck them in the crook of my arm for the rest of their kidhood.