IamA 21-year-old girl who was disciplined for inappropriate touching at my job in an inner-city elementary school. AMA
A year and a half ago, I worked for the YMCA's after school program, which took place in the poorest elementary school in the city.
The program, which was basically homework and then playtime, was for the kids whose parents couldn't afford daycare, and for the mostpart, wished they didn't have a kid. This was best proven by the fact that about 1/4 of the parents attended our free parents appreciation dinner, and 100% left early.
After I got to know the kids, they would run up to me and hug me to say hello, or sit on my lap during playtime.
I had the audacity to hug them back, and to read them stories while they climbed all over me.
This behavior earned me a write-up, and an incredibly offensive lecture about "good touch, bad touch." After all, if the parent sees, which they won't because they don't even look at their kids, they might sue us!
I was told that when a child hugs me, I am to walk away and ignore them in order to show them that touching is not okay.
I wasn't even allowed to hug the five year old who watched his dad get shot to death the night before. "That's a matter for the mother to deal with," my boss said.
I called my mom, who's worked in childcare her whole life, expecting sympathy. But they had brainwashed her too. "That's just how it is. Just don't touch them."
I started hugging the kids more than ever, telling them how many things they could grow up to be, and then I quit. Rules like this make me sad about humanity, and I'll never stop wondering how those kids are doing.
Couple things: I wasn't a teacher, I was a part-time after school counselor while I went to college. I saw these kids for four hours a day, and I was never once alone with any of them. That rule is understandable, but I don't agree that hugging them in plain sight is any sort of threat.
But most of all, thanks for the front page! I'm pretty new here and I never expected anyone to care about my silly little AMA.