But that's not what happened when that girl got home. I wasn't there, but I WAS there when she called her dad on the phone before she got sent home, and heard her side of the conversation. And I WAS there when her mom returned her to school - alone - did not accompany her to the required meeting with the vice principal - and told her not to be such a c*nt as she left her at the curb. I was there when a moment presented itself for me to speak to her, ask her what happened between her and the boy, when she smiled shyly and told me they were still together.
And that's when it hit me: no one has ever told this girl she deserves better. She has no idea that she's good enough. She has no sense of self worth - only of self preservation.
Later that night, I took my 5 year old son to the community skate park for the first time. He'd been asking to go there since it opened earlier in the summer, but we've been busy, and I think I put it off because he's just so little! There are big kids there! And it's dangerous!
But I was humbled as I watched him when we got there. When we rounded the corner and saw that the park was full of teenagers and big kids, I fully expected him to become shy and decide he just wanted to watch. But instead, he set off on his scooter, circling the perimeter, then making his way between the ramps, and eventually trying out some of the smaller ones! He actually started up the biggest ramp there, but I intervened :P He fell a couple times, and I had to stifle the urge to run to him and see if he was okay - but he was; he got right up and set off again.
I was so PROUD. I am raising a boy with self confidence. A boy who is never the one to make the first move to begin a friendship or social interaction, but who doesn't back away from one, either. A boy who knows he's good enough.
In another post, I've written about my son's facial birthmark, and my ex husband's insistence that we need to have it surgically removed, for fear he will be bullied because of it as he gets older. My stance has always been that there is no medical need to remove it, and that kids will find a reason to tease everyone at some point - the kid who wears glasses, the kid with a hearing aid, the one with red hair, the tall one, the short one, the skinny one, the fat one, the one who farted during silent reading, the one who tripped on the playground - and that the way to guard against your child being negatively impacted by teasing isn't to remove the catalyst, but to raise that child with enough self confidence to know he's awesome.
So far...mine does :) And I guess, as an educator, I should be glad for the opportunity to help someone else's kid realize her own self worth. Children are born "good enough" - some parents, sadly, just aren't.