When The News Hits Too Close to Home
Contributor
Written by
Melissa F.
August 2010
Contributor
Written by
Melissa F.
August 2010
There are times when some stories, particularly those regarding kids with special needs, hit a little too close to home. This is one of them. As some of you know, I work in the child abuse field. While I've seen and heard things that are not to be believed, my actual work has me more removed from the day-to-day horrors that my colleagues deal with 24/7. (Literally, 24/7. My colleagues have been roused out of bed at 3 a.m. with calls from police about a case and the need to talk with a child now.) And as some of you know, there was some hesitation before I took this job. I can't work in this field, I told The Husband. I just don't think I can do it. Unspoken were the reasons for my hesitation. We knew what they were. Our kids are exactly the average age (8.75) of the 1,480 kids who came through the doors last year of the organization for which I work. Girls are most likely to be victims of abuse than boys. People with special needs are especially vulnerable. So. no thank you. Too close to home. Too close to home wound up being among the many reasons why I gratefully - and yes, now gladly - accepted this offer, one that I am very happy that I did. One of the things that has been reinforced with this job is what I instinctively, as a parent, knew before - that as parents we can't be everywhere but we need to be vigiliant. But still. But what about the times when our vigiliance doesn't work, when it fails us? That's what happened to Kim Stagliano's daughter Bella, who is seen on videotape (allegedly) being abused on the bus by one of her special education caregivers. Kim wrote about her family's now-in process nightmare and several other bloggers, including the always eloquent diary of a mom, have done so as well. Kim is known to many in the autism community as an advocate, an activist. Kim's blog, her work, and upcoming book are fairly new to me. (I recently learned of her book through one of my book blogging sites.) But aside from all that, she is like so very many of us - a mom, of three girls (all with autism). You would think - you would think! - that the presence of videocameras on a school bus would keep our kids safe. You would think that the presence of videocameras would be enough of a deterrent for a 24 year old special education aide to think once, twice, three times - however many times as necessary - before even contemplating the mere notion of hurting an innocent, defenseless child. You would think that someone would have intervened. (Say, perhaps, the bus driver? Not in this case. Because in this case, the bus driver was reportedly the alleged perpetrator's mom.) My heart breaks for Kim and her family as they live the nightmare of many, many parents and many parents of children with special needs. They are living the story that so many of us fear. They are living the story that is, sadly, lurking in the shadows on the doorsteps - and at the bus stops - of so many of our children's lives.

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