My students are quite young, 10 and 11. In my school this is the lowest level of the Middle School, and as a result they have the amount of innocence varies from child to child. Some still believe in Santa others don't. Some more a bit know about the birds and bees than others. They do have the beginnings of 'Sex Ed' at this year level, so by the end of the year they all know how they came to be.
As a teacher I am legally required to report any suspicion we may have of a child being abused. This is something I take extremely seriously. I came across something yesterday that gave me pause. One of the fables written by a little girl in my Resource Support class was disturbing. Now, this little girl is a lovely, quiet girl who always tries her best and really wants to do well. However, when I read her fable I was horrified. In her story a bunch of animals gang up on a wolf who kept trying to eat them. That would have been fine, but she wrote. " They got some rope. They raped him. The wolf begged them to let him go, but they refused until the wolf promises not to try to eat them any more."
I freaked. It was 5:30 in the morning (I get up early to do my marking), so I jumped online and emailed our counsellor, my principal, and assistant principal telling them about what she had written. The counsellor suggested I ask her if she really understood what she wrote, gauge her response and we would continue from there.
I was nervous about this. What was going on with this poor little girl that she felt the need to express this in a fable? What horror was she going through and by whom? After I had handed back their papers and had my class on their individual tasks, I pulled her aside and asked, "Can you tell me what this means?"
"Oh," she looked as if she had just had a realization, "I see. I left out words. 'They wrapped him up with it' was what I was meant to write."
So she thought 'wrapped' was spelled 'raped' and of course spell check hadn't corrected her.