I got some news yesterday about a former student, who is currently in sixth grade. Another teacher discovered welts all over his legs and sent him to the nurse. He told her that his mother did it with a belt. The nurse called DHS (Department of Human Services) to file a report, because we're bound by law to do that when we suspect abuse or neglect.
I'm having a hard time dealing with it. I taught him and his sister (currently in fifth grade) when they were in first grade, and I tutored the sister after school for a semester... so I know the mother pretty well. I just can't believe she would do that to her own child. I've seen abuse before, when I worked at the charter school. Bad abuse. A handprint on a second grader's cheek. Lashes from an electric wire on a fifth grader's upper arms. Over one hundred tiny round cigarette burns all over the body of a first grade boy. I don't care what people say about television and movies desensitizing us. It doesn't get any easier or any less nauseating to hear about it again now.
I had yard duty today, which means I had to be outside supervising the lunchtime recess. I got to see the boy and his sister for the first time since I heard the news. Of course I didn't let on that I had heard anything when I talked to them. But it was good to see them and give them a hug. If for no other reason than to assure myself that they were, for the moment, safe.