A situation observed at a primary school in the land of ” fraternite, egalite, liberte”:
A teacher’s assistant, addressing the teacher with all kids present, said:
– There could be an epidemics in the school. X, Y and Z could be carrying it. And tenderly touched the rosy chick of a child next to her.
Back in the class, the teacher decides to give 5 and 6 year olds the full clinical picture of a suspected childhood desease and its lethal effects. It is easy to guess what this inadequate and un-adapted information does to a child’s vivid imagination. On the way from school, the child refuses to give the hand to her parent: “you might die”, he hears.
It is also easy to guess, the reaction of the child’s parents on this. Confronted, the school assistant denied she made public children suspected diseases. She asked the director for support. The director said “she did not say in public, X, Y and Z have AIDS quand meme!” You should have seen my face, in case you were wondering who the parent was.
Dear teachers, principles and other well-intended adults, the right to privacy is as much a child’s right, as it is yours. You do not want your co-workers, superiors and alike to talk in public about your disease, even if it is not AIDS. If it happens to you, you’ll seek remedies and, as a minimum, an apology.
Children are fully fledged holders of rights. They also have a right to a lawyer and the right to compensation. This is not a threat. Only a firm reminder.
The situation at the school was remedied. The director understood from both my words and body language what was wrong. And the anxiety it created. She offered to talk to the assistant and the teacher. And she did. And to talk in private to the child to reassure her she is in perfect health.
“I was called to the principle’s office, mom. And it was cool”.
And cool it will remain.