Last year, a public school administrator sent me me a note in conjunction with some of the City-reaching activities in which I have been involved. The note is filled with her heart-breaking plea for assistance. It details the “spiritual warfare” that wears on Christian teachers working in public schools daily.
WARNING: The excerpt is quite graphic at points.
We need people. I am begging for people to come and be at our school Sexual abuse is a real issue – at my school. Out on the playground, my kids pretend to be fighting or making love. A second grader wanted to swing. Two boys, one in the fourth grade and the other in the fifth grade, told her they would allow her to use the swing if she would have sex with them. She promptly followed them into a wooded area and then returned to the swing. News spread rapidly all over the school. I asked her, “Why did you do it?” She said matter of factly, “I wanted to play on the swing.” For her, giving her body away as a commodity to get something she wanted was something she had seen happening with her sister and Mom all the time. It wasn’t a big deal to her.
This is the kind of tragedy I see at my school. My kids are sexually active by the fifth grade. Twice last year, I had to take the day off just to cry, to try to recover from what had happened the previous day in the lives of some of my kids. If someone does not help us, I don’t know how much longer we Christian educators in the public school arena can make it. The turnover rate among teachers is extremely high. Nine teachers have quit in my school alone this year. They want to be teachers. But once in the process, they conclude “there are just easier places to work.” I am putting in 13 hours per day. I am tired. I don’t know how long I can do this.
When we are forced to suspend kids and send them home, the parents send them back and say, “I am not keeping them. Send them to juvenile hall.” We sponsor parent classes, but so far this year only five parents have chosen to come.
When summer time comes, my kids beg to stay at school. We feed them and we love them. (The atmosphere at schools, despite the problems, are apparently better, more stable, more nurturing, than the average child is recieving at home! What a telling picture.) One of my children watched her mother’s boyfriend killed in front of him. The home lives are often violent and unsafe. The Moms work the lowest wage jobs. I have a five-year old in my class already drinking beer. His Mom is a prostitute. That is not as uncommon as you might think. 20-30% of the single Moms of children in my school prostitute themselves to support their crack habit.
Pastors, could you not encourage you people, your Sunday School classes to volunteer. Send your people. Have them come and read to a child for an hour. You don’t have to be a tutor – just come. I am begging for help from the church.
We are an inner city school as you might have guessed. People conclude that we have inept teachers, a principal who doesn’t care and that our kids are stupid. Those are myths. We have some new and good programs coming into our school, but we need more volunteers. We need people, bodies, to be physically present. Instruction is interrupted all day long. We need assistants in our classrooms. I am begging for help from churches, from Christians.
Would you come and help us? Help a child?