Ever since I heard that a family had to plant a listening device on their own teenage daughter in order to catch adults at her school who were abusing her, I've been reeling. Did you ever hear one of those stories that just fills you with abject terror? You know the kind I'm talking about -- where a kid is hurt, and you start putting your own kid in their shoes? You start to wonder: if this happened to her, is my child really as safe as I think?
Kourtney Barcus' 14-year-old daughter is described as developmentally-disabled, which certainly puts a more terrifying spin on this case. We already know kids with special needs are at a heightened risk of being bullied. But that's just a bit of what makes this so scary.
The thing is, the girl's parents (well, mom and mom's boyfriend) had been telling school officials that aide Kelly Chaffins and teacher Christie Wilt were harassing their daughter for quite some time and getting nowhere. Planting a bug on their kid was a last resort, and sadly it revealed a pretty chilling situation. The teenager was being ridiculed by the very people who were supposed to be caring for her.
Now think about what we do every day. We send our kids to school. Where teachers and aides are in charge. We have no authority, nor can we keep an eye on what's going on. All we can do is use our gut instincts to gauge whether the stories that come out of our kids' mouths are true. Sometimes our kids are blowing smoke up our you know whats, and sometimes they have a bona fide problem.
But it's hard when you're not there to suss it out. I know I don't want to be that mom who always comes running out with her dukes up because she can't believe her little darling is wrong. I hate that mom.
But when your kids are having a tough time at school, and you believe the story they're spinning is the truth, what do you do? You're not there! It's a kid's word against a respected adult's, and you're wading in blind.
So far my daughter has had nothing but good experiences with school personnel. But if I were ever in a position like Barcus', you better believe I'd be planting a bug on my kid.
How about you? Do you ever feel like you're in an us vs. them situation with your kid's school?
Image via RaeAllen/Flickr