Monday, February 6, 2012

Doing all that I can

As a school counselor, my duties can fall under one large category; to look out for and protect the welfare of my students..whether this be emotional, mental, or physical.  I also have one significant role as well..I am a "mandated reporter".  I am required to report whenever physical & sexual abuse is suspected, or when there is evidence of neglect, knowledge of an incident, or any risk of suspected harm.   

This is a very tough part of my job. To hear young innocent children talk about what is happening to them outside school. Whether they are denied food, clean clothes, and the means to bathe..or being beaten on a weekly basis. Or perhaps they are on medication and their guardian hasn't refilled the script for weeks.  All of these issues cause problems at school. The child may have behavior problems at school, they may be aggressive with others, or they may be made fun by others due to their body odor. They may have to take care of themselves in the morning which is why they are consistently late or absent from school.  Kids just can't be kids anymore, especially the children whose families are struggling financially and mentally. They are put in charge of younger siblings when their parent works the night shift. No one is there to check their homework at night. Some families even lock the refrigerator when they are gone.  And the kids are left to fend for themselves.  It is an awful pattern. Babies having babies..and then the grandparents, aunts, and uncles have to step in and take guardianship. 

However, when any parent or guardian abuses their child, I am required to report the incident. Many of you may be wondering why i've been having such a tough time at work. I can't go into many specifics, but its due to the fact that I am doing everything I can to protect these kids...and other faculty members are not backing me up. Clearly they can't be bothered with these serious issues. Apparently we should send kids back home to their abuser even when they confided in me that they are afraid to go home. Can you imagine..finally getting up the guts to tell a teacher what is going on at home...then being sent back to that same home the very night? No? Because I can't. And it is something I would never do. It is our moral obligation to have the child's best interest at heart..even if it may be an inconvenience to stay at school later than normal.  I took the proper precautions and followed the correct protocol..and then was shot down and "dismissed". 

So things have become very hostile and uncomfortable around these parts. I haven't backed down as I know I did the right thing...and others didn't. So therefore I have reached out for help from my union as situations like this cannot happen again. So please keep me in your thoughts and prayers as I see this situation through. I apologize for being so vague and appreciate all your concerns and comments.


9 comments:

Melissa at Tall Blonde said...

Keep doing what you are doing, those children will thank you. Sorry it's been tough. As a former teacher, I can relate on so many levels. Stay strong!

Angie said...

What a difficult situation. Your job is SO important and critical, especially in these circumstances, and I am so sorry that you (and especially the kids) aren't being respected and backed up. Just ridiculous and so sad. Praying everything gets better asap, you do what you need too!

Kay Holt said...

I work for a social services agency and see the social workers struggle with this same thing. As you know counselors work hand in hand with social workers (CPS to be specific) when deal with a child's welfare. In our agency the supervisors act like it's no big deal with some of the cases that come their way. It's just sad that some people don't want to be or feel to bothered to be these childrens' advocates.

PattyAnn said...

This is just awful, I am definitely thinking of you and praying for justice for these poor children.

Nigs said...

Love you mama :(

Happiness Is... said...

As someone who works in public education myself, the world needs more of you -- and less of your colleagues. Don't relent on what you know is right, and don't stop fighting the good fight. You rock. And don't forget it!

Lindsey said...

Yes, we are mandated reporters. It saddens me that others colleagues don;t remember that. Good luck!

Mrs. Mama said...

wow. i cannot believe that these fellow coworkers wouldnt support you in such a horrific situation. no child should EVER go through such a thing.

Lindsey said...

Sending the biggest hug I possibly can because you are an amazing woman!!! Not many people have the courage to do what you do and that is evident by the lack of support from your co workers, but those kids are so blessed to have you and you are wonderful!!! Prayers that all improves soon lovebug!

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