When Miriam’s son tries to defend himself against schoolyard bullies, he’s victimized a second time by a school system that punishes the victim as well as the bully.
In order to help her son learn to be strong, Miriam must overcome the trauma of her own past. For bullies exist in every walk of life, and she’s tired of being a victim.
Miriam sat across the desk from her son’s middle school principal and tried not to fidget.
Her chair was as uncomfortable as all the classroom chairs she’d ever sat in when she’d been in school. Straight-backed with a hardwood seat and battered metal legs, it was an adult version of the kid-sized chairs she perched on at every parent-teacher conference she’d gone to since Mitchell had started school seven years ago. Familiarity did not breed contempt so much as fear—the old childhood fears of being called to the principal’s office. Of being noticed. Of not fitting in.
Only this time Miriam wasn’t afraid for herself. She was afraid for Mitchell.
The principal didn’t shake her hand when Miriam introduced herself after a harried-looking office assistant ushered her into his tiny office. The man didn’t even stand up from behind his neat-as-a-pin desk. His only acknowledgment of her presence was to glance away from his computer screen only long enough to give her a look that made her feel like she was a minor irritation in a lifetime filled with nothing but irritations.
Miriam had offered her hand in greeting. When the principal didn’t give her the courtesy of accepting her outstretched hand, she pulled it back and straightened her skirt as she sat down. She tried to make the movement look natural, like she’d intended to do just that all along, although she was sure she’d failed miserably.
“We have a serious situation here, Mrs. Richardson,” the principal said. “You son was caught fighting.”
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