My husband’s aunt came by today. She wanted to know about some lingo, possibly prison terminology, that her daughter heard. It wasn’t prison lingo she was after, but a sentencing level. Thankfully, I wasn’t satisfied with my response and after some consideration I plugged in a few key words to Google, and determined that we were likely talking about a sex offender. Possibly, even, we were talking about a child molester.
Let me back up. Her daughter, my husband’s cousin, works as a Kindergarten teacher in a lower-end district. Over the years she had had her share of rough kids, tormented kids, learning disabled kids, and then she got this class. Four days into the school year and her stories make me want to quit teaching, except that you can’t quit something you haven’t taken up. If you’re the praying type, pray for this talented, compassionate, no-nonsense young woman. Pray that she is relentless, strong, and able to weather this year.
One of the children, a 75 + pound, five-year-old Hispanic calls her the B-word followed by the N-word. He likes to throw his weight around too. Mom is somewhere in the picture, but Dad is clearly involved in prison gang life. His son is already in his foot-steps. Both parents reportedly laugh at Junior’s defiance. Clearly, he is an uphill battle for our cousin. And he’s only one of 20 or more in the classroom.
Upon hearing this, my heart sank for everyone involved, and I distantly heard the generalized band-aids profferred by each of us in the room. Nothing that was said would ever make it to a vote, and it’s questionable that our ideas would even make good laws. The solution isn’t simple.
Knowing (admittedly very little) what I do of the child and my past experience with the culture he was being brought up in, I understand how tempting it is to write him off as a lost cause. It felt like everyone in the room spoke of him like he was half-way in his grave. I used to believe you could help the young children, that this was the age and opportunity we had to sow seeds for independent thought and morality. I am wrong. How do you combat the brainwashing by the gang, a child’s natural desire to follow his father, and depravity single-handedly? One can not. But I am unsettled, deeply, deeply disturbed by my answer that we have no answer. How can my soul rest without fighting for another soul? How can I say that that five-year-old is doomed? And how can I accept the many victims he will trample on his path to Hell?