This afternoon I was talking with another teacher about one of my students from the past. This teacher will be working with her now. We were talking so that the new teacher would understand the trauma that had occurred in this student's life the year she was with me.
As I was attempting to recount the story I found myself using vague phrases and unable to state the facts. The fact is that this girl was raped by a family friend on several occasions. Saying those words out loud was shockingly hard. Why is that?
It's hard- and scary- to think of the lives our students live outside our walls...
Because of the fact that you are talking about a second grader. And she has been through more than we could ever fathom for her at her age. And she's a doll, and saying it makes it even that much more real.
When your discussing something like that (and I have), I find that privacy concerns can be an issue. A lot of us in schools are notoriously indiscreet in our discussions about students and their families, but when you have a situation with physical or sexual abuse, both the law and common decency demand that discretion, so getting out of the keeping it to yourself habit can be difficult. I think that's why when we start to talk about it, we use euphemisms and general terms because we've gotten in the habit of not sharing the story at the staff lunch room. I think we are all trying to help the child rebuild boundaries and a sense of privacy, and that's a pretty important part of their recovery.
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