Stefanella's Drive Thru

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When School Is a Scary Place to Be December 2, 2008

“Mom, I have something for you from school,” my 7-year-old announced last night.  He gravely handed me a letter in a sealed envelope.

Ever the encouraging & positive mom, I asked:  “Did something happen?  Are you in trouble?”

“No,” he replied.

I opened the envelope to find a letter typed on school stationery.  It’s the type of letter no parent ever wants to read.

“Yesterday afternoon, an incident occurred on school grounds and it is now under police investigation.”

The letter was written in vague terms/  A strange man who tried to enter school grounds.   Assurances that he was unable to gain access to the inner courtyard.  An investigation into the matter is underway. “Police and administration are working jointly to find the man.”

Great. I congratulated the guard this morning at the gate.  Thank goodness nothing major happened.

Except I was wrong.

The letter didn’t detail the fact that the strange man, a pedophile, lured my son’s 7-year-old classmate to the gate and somehow violated the child.  The letter didn’t use the words the press did when they ran with the story today:  SodomyRape.

The letter didn’t answer all the questions the bewildered parents are now asking each other, shoulders shrugged and foreheads creased in concern.

How on earth did this happen?  How did noone notice?  How is the child faring?  How do we feel safe again?

 

No Hurting Kids Allowed! September 17, 2008

My son started 1st grade this month; I blogged it here a few weeks ago.

As we now settle into the routine of week three, my petit jewel is revealing a penchant for learning: he is eager to come home and complete homework assignments and he asks permission to skip ahead in his books.

I’m, on the other hand, recovering from the shock of observing MY child, less than a month into formal education, reading text.  MY BOY IS READING!!!… IN HEBREW & ENGLISH!

I know.  No biggie for those of you multi-lingual old timers.  So indulge me for a minute, okay?  Thanks.

I also blogged about how the whole school in Israel (Holy Land Central or HLC) thing is a no-reference-point situation for me because I didn’t grow up here. So buying books, getting “uniforms” (tee-shirts bearing the school logo) and even being told by the headmistress that yes, we parents of English speaking kids can bring in a private English tutor for our kids during regular school hours without going through bureaucratic hassle or paperwork is all new and wondrous for me.

One aspect of the school experience, however, is oh-so-universal…

1st Grade Son, casual-like, while playing with Legos: Oh mom, when I was on the playground today a big kid threw a ball in my face and he and the other big kids laughed.

Stefanella, putting down Newspaper: Did you get hurt?

Son: It felt like my nose would fall off.

Stefanella, steam rising: Lemme see…  How big of a big kid?  Did you cry?

Son: I think they were in 3rd or 4th grade.  Yeah, I cried.

Stefanella, through clenched teeth: Was there a playground teacher out there?  Did anyone help you?

Son: Yeah.  She said she would tell the boys’ teachers later.

Stefanella, pondering: And it wasn’t an accident?

Son: No.  They laughed when the one boy did it.

Stefanella: You’re okay?

Son: Yeah.  Can I play computer games?

Stefanella, seething: Sure, honey.

Stefanella, Internal Dialoguing: I’ll show you what’s funny.  Hurt MY BOY?  MY BOY?  The one with a halo ’round the back of his Head?  Ooh, you all don’t KNOW what hurt is!  I’ll come over there and show you.  NO ARMS, NO BALL THROWING!  Picking on MY little boy?  Uh Uh.  I don’t think SO!

But of course, I did nothing.  Because that wee story shot me back a few decades.  And a schoolyard is a schoolyard is a schoolyard.  T’ain’t a thing I can do.  Make it worse, maybe, by storming the kids or talking to a teacher.  Unless it gets bad.  Otherwise, this is what proving ground is all about.

And as a mom, it sorta sucks.

Stefanella, in a calmer state: Honey, if the boys throw balls at you again, let me know.  Sometimes kids just do stuff like that.  Okay?

Stefanella, internally dialoguing: Just do stuff like that.  Just do stuff like that? *#*%@ I’ll just DO SOMETHING LIKE THAT! #@*% *sigh*