Student Stories #2

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This is second in a series of stories about my students.  I taught high school for 38 years and have heard just about everything.

She came into my room with a sweet smile on her young face and a belly the size of a small cantaloupe.I estimated that she was about seven months pregnant.  This was nothing new.  A lot of my students had been suspended from regular school because of pregnancy, behavior issues, or trouble with the law.

She was taking English III and creative writing.  All her papers and workbook entries were perfect.  She was a great student. One of her creative writing pieces was so interesting and descriptive that I asked her about it.  She began to tell me a story that I will never forget.

When she was 14 her mother died.  She became so traumatized that she had to be hospitalized.  She was reviewed by the best doctors where she lived; then her father and a doctor decided she needed to be placed in a group home situation.  Her father found a “retreat” in upstate New York and sent her there.

What she ended up in was far from a “retreat.”  She was in a cult that practiced cuttings as a way of punishment and shame.  They would shame the children in front of the entire body.  Any small infraction of the rules would lead to “cutting” their bodies as punishment.

This young girl showed me her arms that were cleverly covered by long sleeves.  From her wrist up to where her elbow bent she had cuts which were now scars.  It sent chills through me!

I asked about her pregnancy and she told me one of the counselors at the “retreat” had made her pregnant.  He was married and had four children.  She wouldn’t tell me any identifying details about the man or the “retreat.”

She had left the camp when she became pregnant after being shamed by the entire body for her “accident.”  Nothing was done to the counselor who was 30 and married.  They said she had tantalized him!  She was sent away and ended up in my classes.

She was emancipated and could make her own decisions.  She lived with a group of kids on the beach/small apartment they all shared.  She was a “hippy” throwback to the 60’s.  She wore long skirts and made ankle bracelets for a living.  She sold them on the beach.

She knew how to sew, so I gave her a sewing machine.  She completed all her classes and graduated soon after her baby was born.  I was so proud of her for finishing high school in spite of everything that had happened to her.  She began to go to church with me and I became close to her and the baby.

I lost track of her for a few years, but received a letter from her telling me that she had given her child to the man who had made her pregnant.  Apparently he had filed complaints against her and filed for custody which he had won!  What a blow to hear that news. He in fact had raped this young girl and now was taking her child away from her.

Somewhere out there is a mixed up woman who has lost her child to her abuser.  She lost her mother, and apparently her father.  I hope to hear from her someday to tell me she is married, settled down, and a mother again.  This world is a scary place, isn’t it?

Blessings, dear readers.

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