Friday, January 23, 2015

A Little Privacy, Please, But Only a Little

The second grader was scratching, scratching, scratching at his leg, so hard and long that he broke through skin and drew blood. Alarmed by the blood on his hand, he stood up, found a teacher, and asked for a band-aid.

I guided him over to the sink area and pulled the first-aid kit out of one of the cabinets. I grabbed a band-aid and was just starting to tear its wrapper when I noticed that the boy was pulling down his pants to grant me access to the cut.

"Let's not do that here," I murmured, before the rest of the class saw his underwear and teased him in the take-no-prisoners fashion pervasive among seven-year-olds.

I steered him to a supply area across the hall, where I applied the band-aid.

A staff member was already there searching for plastic cups. "A little privacy was warranted," I confided, and she nodded, understanding right away, as anyone who works with young children would.

Then she said, "It's good that I am here so I can serve as back-up if there were ever to be a problem." She looked at me meaningfully.

And I froze. Not because she spoke out of turn, but because she reminded me this is what we have come to. This is what the world looks like in 2015.

I patted the boy's shoulder. "Let's go back to the classroom. We're all done here."

"Thank you for helping me, Mrs. P.," he smiled.

Would you understand if I told you that for the rest of the day I wanted to cry?


Neil said...

Yes, sadly that is the reality. Can you even imagine a male teacher doing this now without bringing in three other teachers?

Anonymous said...

Sarah, I would totally understand. We weren't supposed to hug the kids when I volunteered in my son's classes for the same reason. However, whenever a small person flung themselves at me, hug we did. I'm not supposed to hug my mentor student except for side hugs. Yeah, it makes me feel the same way. Xoxo (Kathryn)

Christine said...

Ugh. Sadly I totally get this. It is heart breaking.