By P. Berman, A. Hosack & K. Hecht
Davy is scared. I must be calm. No matter what Davy says, I need to stay calm so he can feel less scared.
Claire was still feeling shocked by Davy’s reaction to Larry’s picture; she hadn’t known he was having nightmares about Larry. She had just hoped he didn’t remember those bad times. However, he did and that was that. She had to shake of her own feelings for now, she could get comfort from the Carsons for herself later. Her Davy needed her. She dried her cheeks and blew her nose using a tissue Mrs. Carson handed her. She got up from the floor and walked up the stairs. She knocked gently on the door to Davy’s bedroom and called out, “Davy, its mommy” and then walked in. Claire saw an empty room but knew that her Davy was hiding somewhere. “Davy, my heart. I know you are scared. I am here to take care of you. You are safe. I am not going to let your daddy hurt you.” Davy whispered from under the bed, “promise?”
Claire sat down on the floor by the bed and said, “I promise. Now come sit in mommy’s lap.” Davy crawled out from under the bed, sat in her lap and buried his face in her chest. Claire just stroked his head over and over. When he finally looked up at her, she took a tissue and wiped his face and nose. “I love you my Davy. Mommy’s job is to keep you safe and I will.”
“Mommy, that bad man hurt me and you.” Claire took a deep breath. “Yes, your daddy did hurt us.” Davy buried his face again. Claire just stroked his hair again. After a few minutes Davy looked up and said, “why do I have a mean daddy?” Claire didn’t know what to say. A few months ago, she would have felt pressured to somehow say something. However, Dr. Berman had helped her realize that t it was okay not to know what to say; no one always knew what to say. It made sense to need time to think through difficult things.
“Davy, you are right, your daddy did mean things to us. Your daddy has also done good things. It is hard to understand why he could be good sometimes and mean others. I am going to work on understanding this better. When I do, I will explain it to you.” Davy hugged Claire close. “Mommy, can you tell me something good about my daddy?”
“Yes, of course I can. It is getting late, and you need to get ready for bed. Then, I will tell you a bedtime story where your daddy did something good.” Davy rushed to his dresser drawers and took out his pajamas. He stripped, changed clothes, put his clothes in the hamper, and jumped into bed so fast that Claire could tell he was still anxious. He always got extra fidgety when he was worried about something.
“Davy, I am going to tell you a really good story about your dad. But, if you have any nightmares about him again, I want you to tell me right away okay?” “Yes mommy, I was so afraid of that man I couldn’t tell you about my dreams. It was too scary to tell.” “Davy, no matter how scary, you can always tell me. Remember, I will hug you while you tell me, so you know you are safe.” Davy smiled and looked so happy. Claire hoped she could tell the story just right for him.
“A long time ago before you were born, I went to a school that wasn’t nice like yours. The kids were mean, the teachers would walk by and not stop kids from being mean. Let’s just call it the mean school. I would hide in the bathroom a lot because it felt safer, just like you sometimes hide under the bed. But one day, two really mean boys who were bigger than me grabbed me as I was leaving the bathroom. I struggled and kicked but they wouldn’t let go. They were hurting me.” Claire noticed that Davy was looking scared, “don’t worry Davy, I am going to be okay. We are getting to the good part.”
Oh please- oh please let me do this right. I don’t want Davy to have nightmares about his dad.
“Your dad walked out of the boys’ bathroom door. He had never met me before. He saw those two boys hurting me. He came over right away, just like a hero in a movie. He made those boys let me go. He helped me stand up. He could see I was scared so he put his arm around me. I hadn’t been able to eat lunch and he took me to the school cafeteria, and we ate lunch together. I felt so safe. He kept his arm around me all afternoon and walked me to the bus. It was the first time I had ever felt safe in school and it was all because of your daddy.”
“That was a good story mommy. My daddy saved you. That was good.” Claire kissed him on the cheek, tucked him in and softly left the room.
Bullying, sexual harassment, date rape- can all happen in school. Research has shown that schools that have teachers and staff walking around all the halls and outside spaces around school can greatly reduce victimization in the schools. However, it costs money to have more adults supervising.
Would it be worth it to you for tax dollars to be spent ensuring all schools were well supervised? Consider going to the following website and making up your own mind as to whether we have enough policies and regulations to keep schools safe or if we need new or better ones.