How Parents Can Watch Other Kids for Child Abuse Signs
I live in Los Angeles, and just joined the PTA here in Studio City since my beautiful bio-son Sam Sam entered kindergarten. And now I am surrounded by these 5-year-olds (and older kids who seem smellier and meaner somehow) and I can’t seem to like them any more than I did before… and now I actually have one. But here’s the point of the post about not liking kids very much.
Just because I don’t care for children doesn’t mean I don’t want them to enjoy every chance to excel in life. During Sam’s first week of school, LAUSD, the Los Angeles Department of Education, cut every librarian’s salary and fired the majority. Suddenly, all of our kids cannot go to the library. No books to help them with homework, reports and reading during school hours.
So now all of the parents in the PTA at Carpenter Charter in Studio City, Calif. have wholeheartedly pitched in and we volunteer once or twice a week to keep the library open, check in/out books, help kids search for books and basically be the librarian.
Call me librarian Nicole. Me, and about 50 kids per hour. I already have my favorites.
There is one little girl who sits alone in the library with me after school for hours. Her face is always dirty and her clothes are tattered, and yet she is smart and very shy and sweet. She helps me “Ssssh” the privileged kids on the computers and she sits next to me, reading books all afternoon.
No one comes to pick her up.
I can tell she has nowhere to go, maybe her parent (if she has one) is not home from work yet and so she sits and reads. So I am now in a position to keep my ears open and my eyes open; I look for bruises on the kids. I ask them if they’re having a nice day. This one just sits and smiles at me — she thinks I’m funny.
She makes me think of all the Penn State kids that have been in the news lately — that alleged Coach Jerry Sandusky who raped and abused inner city kids at Penn State for years. You see, abusers aim for the weak and underrepresented, abusers like Sandusky grab the ones who will not speak out against him. The poor kids who don’t have loud strong opinionated and careful parents watching out for them. Like me.
Like this little girl who sits with me at the library all day, just be be safe. I feel her — she’s smart and she knows she’s safe with me. She makes me think about all the other inner-city kids with no parents to protect them, the foster kids and the ones who have to behave so they’re not sent back to wherever scares them even more.
I feel like my family can save one or two by fostering to adopt a poor kid. I feel like we have no other choice… how can a coach or a teacher with even an inkling of child abuse not rush to shout to the police? I am watching a lot closer these days too…