Thursday, January 19, 2012

In Which a Child is Assaulted and the School Does Nothing

Trigger Warning:  Contains sexual content

Recently, a colleague from my days as a teacher shared the following story:

A class of Grade 3 students was assembling on the carpet of the library.  An 8-year-old boy walked in front of a girl in the class who was seated.  He faced her, bent his knees and began to pump his pelvis in front of her face.  Other children pointed and laughed.  Then he bopped her on the head with his hand and sing-songed, "Ha ha, you got tea-bagged!"  Children continued to laugh as the boy skipped away and the little girl began to cry.  She wiped her eyes and sucked back the tears as the librarian called the class to attention and began the lesson.

Are you as horrified as I am by this event?

Let's be perfectly clear:  That little girl was sexually assaulted.

Hopefully she went home and told her parents exactly what happened.  It doesn't matter if she understood what the boy was acting out--she knows that she was uncomfortable and humiliated and that she was treated with aggression.  Hopefully her parents raised some hell at the school, at the very least demanding that the boy be moved to another class.

But from what I heard, nothing happened.  The boy was not punished nor even spoken to about his actions.  His parents were not phoned.  The little girl's parents were not phoned.  The incident was ignored and school life continued.

Friends, this is normal every day stuff in the life of a child attending school.  And yet every time someone criticizes my family for choosing a different path of education, they invariably start with the argument that my children need to learn how to "cope in the world" and "how will they ever be socialized?"

If that had been my daughter who was sexually assaulted on school property while a teacher did nothing, I would have immediately pulled my daughter out of school, contacted the director of education and phoned the media.  Somebody would have to answer for why school personnel are unwilling or unable to prevent and stop an act of sexual aggression.

It literally makes me feel sick to my stomach when I hear parents who really believe that events like this are no big deal and that the little girl will get over it.  If I were sitting at a library and some guy came up and started grinding his pelvis into my face, would we all decide that it was no big deal and I should get over it? Do children not deserve to be free from assault and aggression, regardless of the age and maturity of the perpetrator?

Parents:  Protect your Children.  You are not teaching them anything positive when you believe that they must go through bad experiences as they grow up.  What a horrible way to view life and to teach your child to view life!  I want my children to grow up with the belief that the world is a kind and wonderful place, where life is full of abundance and richness and where the spreading of joy results in more joy coming their way.

It's funny how it makes some people uncomfortable that I think that offering my children experiences of joy and freedom and abundance is good for them.  It's too bad so many people are so committed to their lives of scarcity and misery and frustration that they want the same experience for their children.

No thank you.


  1. Patti, this post is so right on! I love how you articulate what I believe and you do it so eloquently. It is amazing that parents are not more horrified by the actions and indecencies that occur in schools.


  2. How horrible! How could the school not take a hard disciplinary action IMMEDIATELY?!

    1. Against whom? The parents of the assailant are probably aware that they have a hellion on their hands. the school has been trying to get them to accept a placement in a behaviour class, and they refuse--remember the power over the kid is in the hands of her parent, in theory. That means in practice that if she is rude, disruptive, or suicidal (one of my Grade 5 kids tried to jump out a 3rd floor window and I was forbidden to touch her--had to wait for the principal, while trying to contain her along a length of windowsill, and HE got her down by force.) then the parent can choose a normal class placement for the kid, and disrupt all the OTHER kids in the class, who, as a result of one parent's choice, are having all their learning compromised. What's the solution? I know what it is, but I'm not saying. Because it's simple, neat--and probably wrong.

  3. this brings up so much frustration in me about the school system and why people so blindly go with the flow and don't protect their children or themselves. It is horrifying and sad what the average child becomes desensitized to by the time they are in middle school. With happenings such as this how can we be shocked when kids kill themselves on youtube and bullying has become a national pastime; even being glorified in movies such as jawbreaker and mean girls! I took my son out of school because he was being physically assaulted on a daily basis and I didn't find out until it had been going on for 63 days (he was shamed by the teachers and felt he would get in trouble with me because he- the victim- was being punished at school). He was even told by some little girl that if he didn't show her his penis they would no longer be friends...he got pulled into the office for this. I told the principle I was more worried about the little girl and her reasons for propositioning my 5 year old in such a way. Nothing got done and even though he was the obvious victim of this blatant sexual assault he was labeled as a bad kid for complying with this 6.5 year old child's demands. Protect your little ones is the name of the "game". Homeschool (unschool) seems to me the only logical answer. Patti you amaze and enthrall me with your subject matter always. thank you for being a strong voice in the parenting/ homeschooling arena!

  4. My heart is breaking reading this! Thank you for writing about this and raising awareness about bullying (and assault).