It was on of those calls every parent fears. The school nurse calls to tell you that your child has been injured while at school.
Ashley's arm was injured, she said. Very swollen and bruised. The concern in the nurse's voice was evident, leaning even to the side of perhaps a choked up feeling. I could tell that the silences between her words told more than the actual words themselves.
Finally, the nurse indicated the injuries may have been caused by a school staff member. The nurse told me that pictures had been taken, and that I needed to make an appointment for Ashley to see her doctor. She also said that the school principal would be waiting to talk to me when I arrived to pick Ashley up.
With a doctor's appointment made, I rushed to school. Immediately I checked out Ashley's arm. It was swollen to almost twice its size. It was red and black and blue. Fortunately, Ashley did not seem to be too bothered by it because she had her iPad and was playing a game.
The school security officer stood close by. The nurse called for the principal. He arrived and the first thing out of his mouth was, "Are you going to send Ashley to school tomorrow?" After some back and forth conversation, I got out of him that Ashley's aide was suspected of the abuse and that statements were being taken from other staff. I mentioned that we were leaving for the doctor's office, and the principal said he would call me that evening.
The doctor was very upset. She did a full CPS (Child Protective Services) workup which meant a full physical and pictures. She wanted an x-ray, but by that time the facility was closed. An appointment was made for the next morning.
Ashley was starting to feel the pain once we arrived back home. She didn't want her arm touched during her shower, and about 3am, she woke up crying and saying her arm hurt. After some ibuprofen and some ice, she slowly drifted back to sleep.
The morning's x-ray revealed that no bones were broken. I took Ashley to school and tried to get some more information. It was at that point I realized the school staff was stonewalling me.
The principal told me that Human Resource was in charge of the matter and they were telling him what he could share with me. Not much.
So now what? Hopefully CPS will call me soon. But I want to know what happened and who caused the injury. I want to know this will not happen again - to Ashley or any other child.
I'm scared - I'm angry - and all I can do is sit and wait. I'm not doing that very well....