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One of my biggest concerns about violence in schools, beyond the immediate concern of injury/trauma, is about what will happen to victims of and witnesses to this violence 15+ years down the road.


CW: violence, abuse, assault

#onted #onpoli #etfo #osstf #aefo #oecta
In a nutshell, we are teaching children how to be in abusive relationships. As a survivor of abuse and sexual assault, this is killing me. I don't know how to cope with the guilt and anxiety I feel about the situations these kids are put into.

#onted #onpoli
We tiptoe around volatile students in an effort to prevent them from becoming dysregulated. If a student escalates, the discussion becomes about what everyone else did, where we could have acted differently, where we could have changed our behaviour so as not to set them off.
What does this say to students? That a violent student's behaviour is their fault. That if they had just not done X, then student wouldn't have done Y.

#onted #onpoli
When a student does escalate and assaults another student or an adult, we use code words. The student is "dysregulated". The student is "having a hard time". It's not violence, it's "dysregulation".

Do kids know that this means it's unacceptable?

#onted #onpoli
After a violent incident, when the student returns to class, other students are expected to act as if nothing happened. They are expected to move on without ever discussing what happened, without reparations, without acknowledgement.

#onted #onpoli
As a survivor of abuse, I know this life. I wish I didn't. I know the constant anxiety of having to put on a brave face and pretend that nothing happened. "He didn't mean it," became an inner monologue on repeat. "He just had a bad day. Today will be better. It wasn't his fault."
As a survivor of sexual assault, I can't tell you how much of my adolescent and young adult life was spent second-guessing my choices, as if I was somehow responsible for what happened to me. As if I could have prevented it if I had acted differently.

As if the onus was on me.
Here's the thing: we can have a real discussion about mitigating circumstances and why students are violent without putting the onus on other students to prevent them from becoming dysregulated.

#onted #onpoli
I want to make sure no one misunderstands what I'm saying: Students in crisis are in need. They are not choosing to be violent. The violence is not their fault, either.

But we CANNOT continue to teach students that it is their fault that these students are lashing out.

As a teenager, I was repeatedly subjected to sexual assault. An adult man prowled around my house watching me through the windows and doing sexual acts, knowing I could see him.

20 years later, I am still working through the repercussions.
I called 911 dozens of times over several years. The adults who should have protected me let me down. The police who responded told my parents that I must be "doing something to entice him".

I was 14.

They said it had to be my fault.

That is what we are doing to #onted.
We are the trusted adults in these children's lives. We have a responsibility to them - to protect them, but also teach them about what's right - and we are failing them. We are teaching them that it's okay to be abused, beaten. That they're responsible.

#onted #onpoli
Fifteen years from now, will these kids know an abusive partner when they see one? Will they know that it's not okay for them to be abused? Will they know that it's not their fault? Will they trust public services to intervene?

#onted #onpoli
Or will they have an inner monologue that says, "But I ___. It's not their fault because ___. I shouldn't have ___. It'll be better tomorrow. They won't apologize but that's okay. They didn't mean it."

Can we sleep at night knowing that this is a possibility?

I can't.

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