“Okay, but please call the office and tell them what you just told me.”
“I’ll call them as soon as I get off the phone and then I’ll call you right back.”
Within five minutes Wilbur Svenson (fictitious name) came to my room, telling the still-sobbing girl, “You’re coming with me.”
The frightened girl looked at me, not knowing what to do. I asked, “Are her parents in the office already? Her mother instructed her to wait here.”
“Yeah , yeah, they’re here.” I could tell by his tone of voice and mannerisms that was probably not true and I suspected that the girls had the same opinion. That’s when Tia chimed in, “I’m coming with her.” He glared at both of us, turned on his heel and marched out of the room saying, “Fine, come on.”
The girls went with Svenson. What he didn’t know was that the kids had written and signed a statement, placed it in a sealed envelope and handed it to me so I could give it to the girl’s mother. I asked another teacher to keep an eye on my students for the remainder of advisory.
When I arrived at the office I found Victor Baird’s door closed. I asked the receptionist if the girl’s parents had arrived. “Nope, not yet.” I waited at the school door for the girl’s mother. When she came up the front steps I told her where her daughter was, and handed her the envelope. The girl’s mother called later that morning to let me know that they had filed assault charges against a male eighth-grade teacher.
Meanwhile, someone was spreading vicious rumors. In a small town it’s not hard to find the source of every rumor. ( Spreading vicious rumors and false allegation is a common practice for abusers and bullies. Especially in schools.) I certainly wasn’t surprised to find out that the source was an administrator.
Two weeks later the newspaper reported the girl’s assault charge. However, in that report the police claimed the incident didn’t have merit. The article quoted Ferret as stating “the teacher acted appropriately.” Ferret and Baird were protecting one of the ‘good old boys’ once again.
During that time I responded to Clark Messenger’s request for volunteers to attend a We Teach All conference in Missoula in early April. I also sent an e-mail to the entire middle school staff saying, “Thank you! I send huge thanks for the lovely plant to those of you that sent it with sincerity. Thanks and may the angels watch over you.”
Later that day an announcement came over the intercom instructing the faculty to go to the assembly room for pictures. Oh, no! I looked awful. I’d lost weight and stress had caused my hair to fall out. Yet I had no choice. I was expected to sit there and pretend that I was happy—even though my life was in shambles.
When I got back to my classroom I sent an e-mail to Victor Baird, Harold Ferret, and Clark Messenger (fictitious name). I told them that I was missing Big Books for ten students and stressed the importance of finding them.
In response Victor Baird e-mailed that he had called the substitute, who told him that he and Jack Ramsey (fictitious name) had placed all the student Big Books in storage. No one seemed to be able to find them. Baird assured me they were still looking for them and would let me know as soon as the books were found. We later discovered that Jack and Victor knew where everything was all along. In fact, Baird had ordered Jack to clean out my classroom and hide all the materials. Thankfully for some students, a few of the books did reappear.
…to be continued