Last night we removed blood drenched underwear off my 4 year old. As you can imagine, we were truly horrified! I’d been told, at school pick up time, that she had fallen awkwardly and might have a slight bruise on her upper thigh…. Well it was actually an bad open wound in her private parts.
After a brief examine, gently as not to hurt her, I called the doctor for advice.
From the rapid response of the doctor and his insistence that we come in as soon as possible, I sensed he had concerns about what had really happened. Luckily, I had no concerns of anything sinister having happened- it was an unfortunate fall. That is all! It could’ve happened on my watch, just as much as it happened at school. So that wasn’t my and Oh-so-loving-daddy’s main concern, rather it was that Little Miss could have bled a fair amount of blood and no staff member had checked her.
A mixture of emotions rushed through us: I was very worried, more concerned at how this could happen than angry! My Little Angel was hurt and no one had attended to her, or so it seemed!
I asked Little Miss about what happened and why the teacher didn’t look at the painful place. Among other things, she muttered that “no one is allowed to touch her there and she cannot show that to anyone.”
Further alarm bells went off! Is the school or her former nursery saying touch to the genitals is just totally banned? Surely that cannot be the right message! It’s not that black and white! Or is it? Are we just saddling our kids with all sorts of inhibitions, while on the other side they are able to see explicit sex scenes in films and on TV?! (Not mine obviously, not under my watch!)
The doctor reassured me that she’d be ok, bruised and sore. Aside from some painkillers and a salt water wash once a day nothing further was needed. (This treatment reminded me of certain post delivery injuries and my heart missed a beat for my darling daughter. Ouch!)
This morning I went to the school and asked to meet the teachers present at the time of the incident and the headteacher. I was happy for this meeting to be arranged later in the day as it was convenient for all involved. I did also mention about the meeting request to the class teacher, as I didn’t want her to have the impression of me going behind her back.
Later in the day I got a call- I would be meeting with the Foundation stage coordinator and Ms F, the class teacher. I questioned why not the head and was told this is the protocol, but the head would be happy to meet with if I was not satisfied with the resolution. I reluctantly accept. I want to raise this, but not get a black mark against my name with the school. My children may be attending this school for over the next decade!
As school ended, the three of us sat down. First, I made my point, that I accept accidents happen and that I did not want the offending equipment off which Little Miss fell removed from the room. It gave the children too much joy to play on. Then went on to try to understand how it could be that they had not examined Little Miss and let her bleed.
This is where the story gets confusing: My understanding (from my daughter’s account) was that the class teacher was not in the room at the time of the incident, only the teaching assistant was. I was told different in the meeting. I was told that Ms F, who supposedly was present, had asked about the injury, but because Little Miss had not cried (?), she felt there was no need to examine her.
I cannot believe with the level of injury , however tough my little girl is, that she did not cry! … and she says she did. (She had said the same yesterday too, beside telling me about the teaching assistant looking for stickers in the other classroom, that weren’t there.)
There is no record of the accident as they had not treated it in any way- cold press, plaster, etc (the limited arsenal that they are allowed to apply), because they felt it did not need treating.
So if I am to believe the school teachers, my daughter fell, hurt a delicate part of her body quite badly, did not cry and told the teacher she was hurt on her upper thigh, but it wasn’t bad. This doesn’t add up! What are they trying to cover up? Perhaps the lack of adequate supervision?
They did try to reassure me that had my little girl told them that she had badly hurt herself or showed more distress, they would have called another member of staff and asked her if they could examine her injury visually. That is reassuring… if it is true. As this had been my main concern: if the injury is to the genitals, then they have so many constraints placed upon them, that they cannot examine it. They explained scenarios of how they would have gone about it, if Little Miss had expressed pain.
The conclusion of meeting? I need to talk to Little Miss that she needs to tell the teachers if something is wrong or something hurts. They will also consider implementing a written feedback to parents next year.
Am I happy? I have vented, I have given them something to think about, maybe even feel guilty…but NO, I do not feel we have resolved the incident and I have not understood how Little Miss could have gone untreated.
There are a number of issues this incident raised in my mind:
– Are we giving our 4 year olds too much responsibility, by putting them into a semi unstructured, yet under-supervised environment at such a young age? (In a lot of European countries children start school at between 5-7. Even a year further on is a huge difference at this age!)
-In an attempt to educate them against sexual abuse, are we setting them up for other problems around being comfortable with their bodies, especially their genitals?
I would really appreciate to hear your views.
… and once again let me express my gratitude to all those who reached out last night, when we first discovered what happened. That sort of support is priceless. Thank you!