We didn’t do anything.
She transferred here from a different school. I don’t know why. She was mostly quiet, but it was not difficult to get a smile out of her. She said she wasn’t good in science, but was killing it in chemistry, perhaps the hardest science of all. I’d like to think that in the 3 months I knew her, I reached her and got to know her a little.
Yet I couldn’t do anything.
We’re on trimesters here. 3 equal terms and the first one just ended. The new one came on Monday and she was gone. I didn’t understand. Was it me? I checked if she transferred to a different teacher’s class.
She did not.
She went to a different school in our district down the road.
She ran, because we didn’t do anything.
Feelings come in waves. I’m past angry. I get frustrated now. Sad too.
Why aren’t we doing anything?
Let me explain.
I talked to the girls who sat at the same table and asked why she transferred. One said that it wasn’t because of classes or being new and not having friends, but as a result of a “couple students being just awful” to her.
Why didn’t she say anything? I asked. It’s not snitching if somebody’s getting hurt.
I think she did was the reply. But they don’t really do anything. They just talk to them and nothing happens. And they just keep doing it.
You see… These things don’t happen in our school. It’s a good school. Right? Right… And so she ran.
You see… I am afraid for her. I fear if she starts running now, running is all she’ll know. We didn’t do anything, so she had no choice but to run. Run from the awful ones, their hate, and the pain they inflict.
Maybe she was lucky to have a place to run to this time. Many don’t have this choice. But what happens to her when the cycle repeats in the new school? Where does she run to then?
And, what does she do when she runs out of places to run to?
She ran away because we didn’t do a thing. She ran, because she does not believe anyone is doing anything.
I’m afraid she’s right.
I failed her.
We failed her.
The system failed her.
It is failing countless others as we speak.
We say we support all, but they don’t see it that way.
What they see is indifference. What they feel is pain.
And we’re not doing enough. By not doing enough we’re not doing anything. Not really.
We are not talking about these things in our classrooms.
We hide behind the rhetoric of staying “apolitical” and “inclusive” of everyone.
Deep down we sense that it’s just a bunch of bullshit we say to make ourselves feel better.
We do not stand up. We are politically correct on paper and in speech, but we don’t challenge inhumanity. Not really...
Bullying, harassment, homophobia, racism, sexism, xenophobia, prejudice… Does it matter which happened to her?
We say we are against it, but we don’t do a damn thing. This is why she ran. Others are running too, if only in their head.
And you know what’s gonna happen now? Some of you will say it’s just kids being kids and you’ll go on with your life, teaching, leading...
Meanwhile, they kids are running. They are running from us as much as they are running from those who hurt them, because we’re not doing anything. Not really...
So ask yourself: How many are running at your school? Do you know? Can you do anything? Will you?
I’m sorry Eliana.