Aaliyia had an accident this Wednesday, and it was my fault. The poor girl was too scared to ask. I’ve been cracking down on the kids who take “bathroom breaks” to play in the stalls. It’s worked. So well, in fact, that kids who really do need to use the bathroom don’t even ask. I felt horrible.
Aaliyia was in a corner of the classroom for quiet reading time and just stood there, staring at me, dead still, wide-eyed and quiet. Her best friend Gessika noticed shortly after. The only problem? Gessika shouted so loud the whole class could hear her.
“Teacher! Thee peed herthelf! Aaliyia peed herthelf!”
Poor Aaliyia was humiliated. I sent Aaliyia with Gessika to the nurse. They came back five minutes later.
“The nurthe ithn’t here today.”
There was nothing I could do. Not with Aaliyia standing there in dripping pants and 24 other kids whispering, “She peed herself!” all around the classroom.
I took Aaliyia by the hand. “Aaliyia, you’re gonna be fine.” She didn’t say a word. A puddle of urine still decorated the floor. Her dark eyes stared at me in a mixture of pain and humiliation. “Wait here.”
Everyone was “out” that could have possibly helped. I gathered up the class and took them to PE as fast as possible. When I got back, Aaliyia was still waiting. Her wet pants clung to her legs. She hadn’t moved an inch.
“You’re gonna be fine, Aaliyia.” She looked anything but fine. I felt awful. “Let’s go and get you some new clothes.”
There was only one person in the office. She showed me the clothes closet, and I sifted through to find a pair of yellow shorts, a white t-shirt, and a new pair of underwear. Aaliyia changed her clothes in the girls bathroom and, fifteen minutes later, scuttled off to PE as if nothing had ever happened.
I picked up the phone in my classroom and dialed Aaliyia’s grandmother. She’d be wondering why Aaliyia was coming home with new clothes. What would she say? I prepared myself for an apology.
from October 20th, 2012

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