My phone dings. It is a notification from the school communication app. One of the other moms is asking me to call her right away.
I call. The mom seems nervous, hesitant. What could possibly be going on?
After a little bit of forced small talk, she says something along the lines of, “I’m not sure how you will take this, but I just left the school. [My little girl] said that [a boy in their class] has been sneaking into the girls’ bathroom, and that he was inappropriately touching her beneath her underwear. She said he did it to [your daughter], too.”
What? We are not even two weeks into school. She has never been in school before. How could this possibly happen?
After getting the rest of the details, I call my husband. He broke down. How could we not protect her from this? How could this possibly have happened to our sweet baby girl? We prayed together, then hung up.
I dropped what I was doing and headed to the school, sending the teacher a message that no one was to speak to my child about the incident until I got there. At the school, I was quickly escorted to the principal’s office.
The principal spoke with me while another member of the faculty went to get my daughter and her teacher. I shared my expectations, that questions would be general and not leading, but that I also understood that these are kindergarteners, who don’t always get their stories straight.
The administration did a fabulous job handling the situation. They made my little girl feel so comfortable, going over some of the rules of the school, and landing on the bathroom rules. At the end of the conversation, she said that she had never seen a boy in the girls’ bathroom, and that none of her classmates had done anything to her that she didn’t want done. The principal informed me that they would be reviewing video footage to see whether or not he had even entered the bathrooms, and would update me on their findings.
I was feeling much better about the situation, but not completely confident. When we were alone later, we talked about the meeting some. I asked again if she had ever seen any of the boys in her class in the boys’ bathroom. She giggled, and said, “No! That would be so silly.” And then I directly asked her, “Has anyone touched your vagina, your anus or your breasts?” She adamantly said no.
As harsh as this sounds, this is a question we ask our kids regularly. They are aware of the names of their body parts, and they know that they are off limits. Because we also practice how to get away from someone who is inappropriately touching you, and because we talk regularly about the importance of telling me when someone doesn’t respect your body, I can confidently say that I don’t believe that she was involved in the incident.
I spoke with the principal about ways to ensure that there was no possibility of this happening in the future. The hardest part of this story is that, while my sweet girl has retained her innocence, one or both of these children hasn’t. Whether the little boy has been abused or seen abuse (because kindergarteners don’t do this out of their own imaginations), or the little girl is possibly seeing abuse elsewhere and projecting it here, I may never know, but one or both of these children is hurting. I pray that this incident allows them to get the the help that they need to heal, and that those responsible for hurting these sweet kids are held accountable.