Friday, May 15, 2009

What's in a name?

I am not sure this post will make sense, but I had to write my thoughts down.

This week at school, a student (who is emotionally challenged) accused me of doing something that is considered a felony and her mom believes her. While, the accusations are completely false, other adults were there to witness this, my school district is supporting me 100%, and I don't feel the least bit guilty, the accusations have really made me reflect on my job and the risks you take... as well as "what's in a name".

As a school guidance counselor, part of my job is to support students who are emotionally challenged and help them succeed at school.... but that also puts me as a target. I do believe that inclusion for students that are capable of it, is a good thing. However, I also take risks. I often meet with students one on one or in small groups behind a closed door where with only limited visual access into my room. Of course, I know I would never do anything to harm or jeopardize a child, but what if something went wrong, they didn't like what I said etc., and they accused me of it? Fortunately, the incident this week occurred in a classroom with another teacher and 15 other students so I am not at all worried about it, but it did make me think. It's truly heartbreaking to think that after putting so much time and effort into helping one student, they can turn on you in such a hurtful and harmful way, just to be vindictive. ... and therefore, ruin your job, career and your "good name".

This is what this mother is now doing. She has been calling parents in the school telling them what I supposedly did to her daughter.

Out of everything that has happened, that is what hurts me the most.

I have worked very hard to establish a good relationship with the students and teachers at my school, but also with the parents. I want them to trust me so they feel that they have someone to talk to when their child is struggling at school or at home. I want to be a valuable resource for them.

But, while I have a good relationship with these parents, I can only imagine that many of them will question "my name" after speaking with this mom. Do they believe her, who is a good friend of theirs, or do they put their trust in me and in the school leaders who hired me?

What would I do as a parent?? Who would I trust more?

I don't know, to be honest. In a perfect world, we wouldn't judge anyone without knowing ALL the facts, but often, we have to make decisions without knowing all the facts. And, sometimes I know I jump to conclusions just to be on the safe side.... which is what I would probably do as a parent in order to protect my child. Err on the side of caution.

But, now I am on the other side of that. I am the one being unjustly accused and talked about. It is deeply hurtful and

I feel that "my name" and whatever values are associated with it are being slain.

What has taken me almost two years to build can be slain in a two minute phone call. That hurts.

"What's in a name?"

A lot. It's WHO you are. Your values. Your character traits.

It makes me wonder how many people have been unjustly accused. Suffered loss of job, prestige, and dignity just because they were trying to help someone else. How about the people who are on trial and are found guilty even though they're not. Why? I guess there is no good answer to these questions besides the fact that this life is only temporary and that life after death will be so much better than we can even imagine. It's hard to picture that at times. I'm stuck in the "here and now" and can't even comprehend eternity... but it leaves me with HOPE. And, that's what I need right now. HOPE

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