Tuesday, September 18, 2018

The Sounds of Summer

by Renee Shepard (writer), Elmira Heights, August 16, 2007

Living near an elementary school one gets used to hearing kids engaging in the carefree life of well, a kid. Noises from the little humans vary from screams of joy, anger and the sounds of little feet running or operating a bike as they freely and delightfully ride down the hills of this tiny village. Kids should be kids and in this world sometimes that can be hard to do. What happens when the sounds of summer from the little beings turn into an unpleasant sound, an unhappy sound?

The elementary and middle school down the road houses students during the hot days of summer for various programs including summer cohesion and special education. Many times especially in the mid morning hours, the ‘teachers’ or so they call themselves are seen touting a group of kids most of them well mannered but some are indeed a bit unruly. Yet some are just plain tuckered out and enjoy taking a break sitting in complete defiance of their ‘keepers’ by planting themselves on a nice cool lawn of green.

She was a truly beautiful little girl and her ‘caregivers’ called her Monica, a fittingly beautiful name for such a stunning dark skinned big browned eyed little girl. Her joyful face quickly turned into utter sadness and extreme anger as her escorts were not so fond of her need to plant herself on a nice green lawn for a little break.

It is tough to get moving sometimes especially with someone screaming at you and in this Monica had two people much bigger than her explaining their reason why she could not rest her little body on this nice lawn.

“GET UP MONICA” screamed a curly haired blond woman dressed in a plain t-shirt and denim shorts and her partner half laughing at this poor child’s demise also screamed at the little beauty queen to “get up NOW, Monica”. Of course little people along with big people certainly tend to get a bit angrier when someone is screaming at them and being a perfectly normal human being will retaliate the request of the ‘big people’, which Monica did with great determination and defiance. Silently Monica held her ‘stand off’ with her bottom still firmly planted on the lawn completely ignoring the obvious and total lack of respect the big people, had for her.

Becoming a teacher is not an easy task, not only do you have to learn to instruct the students but also to be able to handle their non-academic needs as well such as occasional feats of defiance and non-compliance. It is extremely doubtful that the big people in charge of this little being were in fact teachers. Instead of using the knowledge that they most certainly paid a lot for, they chose to use the easiest and quickest way out of the current dilemma. They used the ‘snatch and drag’ method of getting the little being to move like a trained circus monkey.

It was extremely disturbing to witness this horrible act of not only cruel treatment but also unethical treatment of a student-teacher relationship. Both women, who more than likely enjoyed overpowering Monica as they smiled walked over to her and physically grabbed her arms and pulled her along off the grass where she sought comfort and a much-needed rest to the pedestrian walk in the road.

The women seemed proud as the wills of defiance were quickly extinguished and the sounds of a happy and very innocent little girl turned into sounds of crying, screaming and muffled sounds of her shoes being scraped on the road’s hot pavement. This was the only sound the little human made throughout this unfortunate and horrible end to what seemed like an innocent walk through a serene quiet neighborhood.

A truly educated teacher is trained to ride out the storms of non-compliance and had the women waited for Monica to feel comfortable and gave her the freedom to sense her own body’s need for rest, the incident never would have occurred. It certainly makes a person wonder and deeply think about how our kids are treated by the people that we entrust to take care of them when we cannot. It is disturbing that an incident like this could happen on a quiet street in a quiet neighborhood when no one is really paying attention to adults that take care of children. Had their been other adults around, it is blatantly obvious that the two caregivers would have used other resources to combat this normal act of defiance, still how do people treat our kids when no one is around? Should we make an attempt to be more observant when we see groups of children with teaching and or day care staff? You Betcha!

*Authors Note:
I am a state certified elementary teacher with a Master of Arts in Education and I witnessed this firsthand from my front screen door on Wednesday, August 15, 2007 between 11:00 and 11:30 am. I was truly beside myself and when I saw the women grab Monica and haul her down the road off my lawn I immediately opened my screen door where the women instantly let her arms go to her own body. I could not believe what I had just witnessed and it would be unethical for me to do nothing about Monica’s treatment.

I immediately put on my sandals and grabbed my cell phone and called my friend at the district where they were headed back to and told her she would not believe what I had just seen and that I was on my way to the school to see her. When I got there and talked to the ‘site supervisor’ she explained to me that Monica was upset because she could not get candy at the store where they had walked. Truly a lame excuse for treating a child like absolute dirt because first of all, there is NO store between that school and my house, however, there is one down a huge hill of one extra long block. It is doubtful that the women walked this 7 or 8 year old little down a hill on a hot day and besides, if the child was mad about that, the hissy fit would have happened long before the time I saw the group. I left in frustration and made a few more phone calls on my furious and quick walk back home regarding the horrible act I had just witnessed.

A teacher is never supposed to grab, drag or scream at a child in anger, however I witnessed all three unethical and completely unprofessional acts upon an innocent child. I am only sorry that I could not grab my camcorder fast enough or these two women would possibly not have jobs and their payroll today. Because this has indeed disturbed me, I truly want to go incognito near schools and especially day care centers just to make sure that no child is being treated the way Monica was. You know, I should feel better now that I’ve finally got this out after more than 24 hours of plaguing my thoughts but for some reason I do not. How many Monica’s are out there getting treated the same way? And finally, why would a person care so much for something that is not theirs to even worry about? She was not MY child so why would I care this much about it?

©Renee Shepard August 16, 2007

About the Writer

Renee Shepard is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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