Tomas Valero always looked forward to seeing his daughter come home after school. He loved seeing her big smile and hearing all of her fun stories about her day. Recently, however, his little girl had become less cheerful, sometimes she even refused to talk, so he decided to investigate.
When he found out what was happening at her school, he was appalled. He knew something had to be done.
Opening The School Year
The start of each school year is nerve-wracking for any child and he or she will need all the support from both the teachers and parents in order to adjust well.
Regardless of how good a teacher may be, the first encounter is always an intimidating experience. In fact, some kids do not ease into their new environment and crowd until a few months after school has begun.
Having A Rough Time
Because the first few weeks or months of the year is a volatile period of adjustment, teachers need to tread carefully as children respond differently to the stimuli around them. For instance, if a teacher is known to be super strict, then experiencing this “dread” in the beginning can very well spell a child’s rocky performance for the entire year.
Tomas was starting to notice that his daughter hasn’t been adjusting well. She wasn’t her usual bubbly self and often kept silent when asked how her day had gone. It was not like her at all. Tomas knew he had to find out what was causing the drastic change in her demeanor.
Tomas had always been extra careful and hands-on in raising his little girl, so he definitely knew if something was up. Seeing that his child does not seem to be happy about seeing her teachers and classmates, he felt a pain in his heart. As the days went on, her behavior continued and he knew he had to step in.
He became increasingly worried about her, until one day he couldn’t take seeing his little girl in such a state anymore.
Outpouring Of Emotions
Aside from being quiet and glum, Tomas’s daughter also started being anxious whenever school was brought up. At first, he thought it was just nerves, being in a new environment with new faces.
He understood that it’s a little tricky for kids her age to make new friends, but he also knew in his gut that there was more happening than just a case of shyness and uncertainty. As her behavior got worse, it was clear that something was very wrong.
More often than not, Tomas’ child would sob in the mornings. She would plead with her dad to not attend school anymore until it became a morning ritual for their household.
Every single morning as she got dressed and had breakfast, his child would be in tears trying to convince her dad that she’s not well and needs to skip class. The situation had eventually become too emotional and exhausting for Tomas to handle.
Something’s Happening In School
The days turned to weeks and then to months. His daughter had been clamming up more and more and Tomas was starting to have difficulty communicating with her.
What was going on at school and why wouldn’t she speak up about it?
He was so concerned and alarmed that he decided to finally have a sit-down with his daughter to get to the bottom of things. However, she still refused to say anything. If he pushed her to talk about it, he feared she would clam up even more and that it would cause conflict between them.
But how would he find out was going on? There had to be a less overt way of getting the story.
Tomas’ daughter went to Pine Grove Elementary School and that year was her first there since their family moved to town. In her previous schools, his child had always been in high spirits and was very active in school events. She easily made friends, too.
Now, however, he seemed to have an entirely different little girl.
The changes in her behavior all started when she began attending Pine Grove. He couldn’t point out exactly what had been causing the obvious drop in her energy and mood, but he knew it had to be related to being the new girl at school.
Was it because of her classmates, the school environment, or her teachers?
She Used To Be An Achiever
In her previous school, Tomas’ daughter was quite popular among her friends and had been the darling of the teachers. She always got good grades and was well-liked for her positive and sunny attitude.
When she got to this new school, however, everything had taken a 180-degree turn. It wasn’t only her demeanor –her grades also started to drop.
To top it off, she would get emotional before as well as after school. What was happening? It became too much for Tomas to see his little girl act like this.
He felt so powerless. However, he knew all the same that it was time to get to the bottom of the situation. He had reached a breaking point.
We’re sure any parent would feel worried about the well-being of their child. It was hard seeing his daughter unhappy every day. He was beginning to get more and more worried about her.
The more he tried finding out what was wrong, the more the little girl shrank away. That’s when he realized what could really be going on.
Positive Home Life
He thought about it a lot. Then, he came to the conclusion that she must be getting bullied by one of her classmates or even by one of her teachers.
They had a stable and happy family life back at home, so he knew that couldn’t be the root of his daughter’s unhappiness. But how could he find out the truth?
Patience Is A Virtue
It’s very important to be patient. It might even be one of the most important virtues we can all learn, even if it’s difficult to practice.
When it comes to teaching small kids, this becomes that much more valuable. If you ever had to deal with kids, then you know how hard they can be to handle. As an educator, patience is part of the job requirement.
Her Formative Years
Even more concerning was that his daughter was still so young. She was in her formative years, meaning that she was going through a crucial and important time of her life.
What happens during this time of her life will mold her into the adult she will be in the future. That’s why it was so important that Tomas got to the bottom of it.
Tomas and his wife raised their two daughters and one son with a certain mindset, always making sure to surround them with positivity and encouraging them to be their best selves.
They know how important it is to develop a strong sense of self in kids to prepare them for what the future holds. Tomas wasn’t going to let all his hard work be for nothing.
The Tip Of The Iceberg
Keeping Tomas and his wife’s family values in mind, it makes sense that a harsh, mean teacher can seriously harm the children she cares for in the classroom. Tomas and his wife definitely didn’t want that for their little girl.
They started suspecting that they were only just discovering the tip of the iceberg — and uncovering a much bigger and ongoing problem.
Taking Matters Into His Own Hands
Being a resourceful person, Tomas decided he needed to figure out what was going on with his daughter. He was having a hard time since his daughter was too young and shy to tell him about what was going on with her.
It was time for the worried dad to take matters into his own hands.
Being the father that he is, he couldn’t just let his daughter get sadder and sadder with each passing day. He had enough and decided he was going to be the one to do something about it. The only question was how?
He thought about it for a while. Then he finally came up with the perfect plan.
Catching Her In The Act
But how could Tomas hear what was happening at school without having to be there at the time? He knew that if he asked to sit in on the class one day, the teacher would just change her behavior.
He needed a more creative solution to make sure he was catching her in the act.
And so, Tomas decided to ‘listen in’ – literally. He planned and built a tiny hearing device. The next morning, he carefully placed it in his daughter’s hair. This would allow him to listen to exactly what was going on at her school.
Hopefully, it would allow him to understand what she was experiencing there.
He knew this was a very drastic way to go about it, but it was important to him. It was important not only to know what was going on but to have proof on hand as well.
He didn’t tell his daughter what he was putting in her hair since he thought it might distract her throughout the day.
Tomas couldn’t wait to see what would happen over the course of the school day. He waited for his daughter at the door and smiled at her as she ran up the driveway. He was excited to finally get that smile he knows and loves back on her face again.
And soon, he’d know exactly what had been troubling her.
When Tomas started listening to the recording when she came home, he was shell shocked about what he heard. After listening to the whole thing, he was absolutely livid.
He couldn’t believe that this had been going on for so long! But, even though he was furious, he was still glad that he finally knew what was going on.
Listening To The Recording
From the recording, it sounded like the teacher was being very mean to the students in her class. Tomas continued listening to the recording and realized this must be the reason for his daughter’s problems.
He knew there was no time to waste. It was time for him to do something about it. He had to act fast.
He could tell that the teacher was taking advantage of her position in power. It hurt and infuriated Tomas to hear the person they had paid to care for their daughter behaving so callously.
But why? He really couldn’t wrap his head around it at first. Why would she do this to her young students?
Tone and Words
As he was listening, he found out that the teacher not only said offensive things to her students, but her condescending tone was also unnecessarily mean.
The recording allowed Tomas to hear just how much she screamed and yelled at the kids in her care over the most trivial things. What should he do now?
It sickened Tomas to see that a teacher would behave in such a way, so he decided it was time to raise the issue with the public school district.
When things like this happen to your children, it’s usually easier to take it up with someone who has the power to do something about it.
Taking Action Against Her
He knew that approaching the teacher in question would get him nowhere. So, Instead of talking to the teacher directly, Tomas decided there was a much better chance of changing things if he turned to the state school board instead.
So that’s what he did. He set up an appointment to tell his and his daughter’s side of the story.
Despite the fact that Tomas had a valid complaint as well as proof to back it up, the school district did nothing to help him in any way. He couldn’t help but feel disappointed by the response he got from them.
To him, it was absolutely sickening that the teacher had been tearing down children on a daily basis.
Can you imagine just how upsetting it must be to hear they weren’t willing to do anything about this problem? They did say they disciplined the teacher for what she did, but that wasn’t enough for Tomas.
And what would happen when his daughter went back to school? He wanted them to do more than that.
Taking It Upon Himself
Tomas wasn’t happy at all about the response he received from the authorities. The teacher was still teaching the class his daughter was in. He couldn’t help but feel like it was time for retribution.
Soon enough, he made the decision to take it on himself to do something about Mrs. Duncan, the mean kindergarten teacher.
What About The Other Kids
The school offered to move his daughter to another class, but this wasn’t just about his daughter anymore. Tomas was worried about the safety and wellbeing of the other kids in her class as well.
As a parent, he knew he had to stand up for his child, but also for all the other children.
Never Giving Up
He was upset the school didn’t offer much in the sense of support or change. It was a problem that would greatly affect the lives of all these kids. As long as Mrs. Duncan was teaching, there will be children affected by her anger.
Even though he and the other parents protested together, the school didn’t budge. However, he and the parents refused to give up.
Word got out about what was happening in the school. Everyone heard about how Mrs. Duncan treated the little girls in her class.
Tomas didn’t get a lot of support after his initial attempts to get justice, but things started turning around when he made a petition on Change.org. Soon, parents everywhere were outraged.
Soon enough, the public arrived to rally around his house. He had over 2,000 signatures for the dismissal of Mrs. Duncan in no time. It was an even bigger surprise when Tomas found himself in the middle of the media spotlight.
Local news channels heard about what was going on at Pine Grove and they admired Tomas for his determination to get justice.
Far And Wide
It didn’t take long for the story to pop up all across the country. It meant that people all over the nation would hear about what this teacher did to the kids in her class, even if Tomas wasn’t able to have her fired.
This gave him a small sense of hope that things could still change.
By far, the worst thing about what the teacher did to Tomas’ daughter is that it was going to have a lasting effect on the child — and the other kids in her class.
Things that kids pick up when they’re so young tend to stay with them for a very long time, if not for the rest of their lives.
Putting A Stop To It
Had Tomas not noticed his daughter’s strange and uncharacteristic behavior and not worked hard to get to the bottom of things, she might have been traumatized for the rest of her life.
He was glad he had tried to put a stop to it. But it was a serious thing that also affected the other kids there, too.
A Good Mentor
Anyone who has kids knows how challenging it is to be a good mentor by leading by example. A lot of times, one will first have to scrutinize and criticize their own actions and behaviors.
This isn’t easy to get done, but it’s essential if you want to be a good role model for your kids.
Tomas did learn from this experience that there would be times when things are out of his control no matter how much he tried being the best parent he could be.
Despite this, he would go through hell and back to ensure the safety of his daughter. He also wanted to keep this from happening to other kids.
A Teacher’s Responsibility
It’s the teacher’s responsibility to impart lessons that go further than the set curriculum. They should help improve the imaginations and minds of the kids they teach.
These are things that will leave a massive impact on the lives of the kids as they grow older. A teacher is meant to inspire the kids they teach.
Did It Work?
It’s never a good idea for teachers to display abusive behaviors and assert dominance by fear. All this does is stifle the progress of the kids and make them more anxious and fearful overall.
Did Tomas’ efforts to fix the problem work? We’ll have to find out.
While Mrs. Duncan continues teaching at the school, we hope she’s at least come to the realization of how harsh she’d been to the kids in her class.
Tomas is still hoping against hope that the necessary changes will happen since he knows he’s in the right.
Standing Up For The Kids
It felt to Tomas like the school had been putting the lives of the kids at stake all thanks to the short temper of one teacher. He learned it would be impossible to make changes if he didn’t take a stand.
He desperately hopes his actions change the school system even just a little to make sure other kids wouldn’t be harmed.
Stronger Than Ever
This entire ordeal had been hard on him and his daughter, but eventually, Tomas admitted that it made their family that much stronger.
He never would have found out that something like this was happening if he didn’t go the extra mile.
By this point, his daughter is attending a class taught by a different teacher. If anything, Tomas learned how important it is to pay attention to his daughter and how she’s acting.
This has made him a better dad thanks to what happened — even though he had to face some hard truths along the way.
No matter what happens, Tomas will always be there for his daughters and son. He and his wife will stand up for their kids whenever and however they need to.
Without great parents who recognize the problem, their daughter would still be getting bullied by her teacher.
Setting An Example
Since the very day their little daughter left the hospital, her parents have always had her best interest in mind. This is what makes a good parent. Tomas and Laici always make sure to care for the needs of all three kids they have. In order for kids to grow up and mature into members of society, having parents with a good head on their shoulders and a good heart always helps.
A stable home life prepares the child for other things later in life. Aliya is truly lucky to have such a great support system!