Archive for June, 2012

Me:  “Excuse me, WHAT?  My stepdaughter is DATING a registered sex offender?”

Other parent:  “Yes.  And her Mother knows about it too.”

Over the past 12 years I have come to expect all types of ridiculous, drama-laden behavior from my husband’s ex, but this was a bit much.  I mean, she isn’t ever going to win any awards for parenting, but letting her daughter date a registered sex offender?  Even she couldn’t be THAT dumb!

My mistake.  This “mother” is indeed allowing her daughter to date a registered Sex Offender.  A Level 2 Registered Sex Offender.  Guilty of Sexual Solicitation of a Child.  But it’s even worse than that.  This woman is a high school English teacher.  She not only allows her daughter to date this guy, but she allowed him (at least once, although I am told on more than one occasion) to sit in her classroom for an entire class period.  How is this even possible?  Why would a registered sex offender even be allowed on campus?  Worse yet, one of his victims was in that class.  How must it have felt for the young girl?  By law she must attend class, yet there she sits, watching as the teacher and her daughter cut-up and carry on with her perpetrator during class time.

After speaking with a couple of parents directly involved as well as the parents of the above mentioned girl, I called the Superintendent of our school district.  She seemed to very upset to hear what I had to share.  She assured me that there was no way any sex offender should EVER be allowed on school grounds without her personal knowledge and her permission.  She asked me to call the Principal of the High School.  Given my personal history of dealing with school administrators when my daughter was having trouble with this same teacher, I declined.  I explained that my interest was in making sure that she, as the Superintendent, knew of the situation, and could get it investigated and handled appropriately.  I told her that the parents of the student had contacted the school resource officer and the investigator that worked the case.  They intended to pursue resolution from the legal/criminal side.  The Superintendent asked if the parents would call the Principal and I assured her they would.  She said that she would make the Principal aware that the call would be coming.

When one of the parents called the Principal, she was more than a little disappointed by what he had to report.  He advised her that the teacher’s response was admission that the young man had indeed been in her classroom. She stated he was only in her classroom for a few minutes, having stopped by with her daughter.  The teacher went on to say the only reason the student was upset about him being there because she used to “date” him and her daughter is now dating him.  Based on the teacher’s interpretation of the student having previously “dated” the offender it is clear that she doesn’t seem to comprehend the seriousness of the offense.  Then again, given the history of this teacher, perhaps she truly sees all of this as acceptable behavior.

What will be the outcome of all of this?  How can any of this be allowed?  Our School Board recently relieved a coach of his duties due to inappropriate language being used with his girls softball team.  Isn’t knowingly allowing a Registered Sex Offender on campus a more serious offense than that?  And what about having him come in a back entrance, so his presence is unknown to the Resource Officer and administrators?  The fact that this teacher would welcome a registered sex offender into her classroom, especially where she is aware (by her own admission) of the prior relationship between this man and one of her students is nothing less than appalling.  It is unprofessional and unethical, to say the least, and in my opinion, shows an absolute disregard for the safety and welfare of all students on campus.

This is all being watched with great interest by several people in our community.  In part because there are so many facets to the situation.  Didn’t the sex offender commit another crime by even being at the school?  Can’t the teacher be prosecuted for knowingly exposing God knows how many students to a registered sex offender?  What about allowing her minor child to date him?  Isn’t there a liability issue for the school with the student being exposed to her perpetrator? With many students being exposed to him?  And ultimately, is this the kind of behavior we will accept in our schools?  Is this the kind of person we want standing up in front our kids, influencing them every day?  How long is all this going to be allowed to go on?

Today is the day celebrated as Father’s Day.  It’s usually a day of cookouts, family time, gift giving, and laughter.  Handmade cards and pictures from little kids; stories about their childhood from those that are grown. Memories are made, and memories are revisited.

Sadly, not all kids get to experience having a Father in their life.  They watch from the sidelines as friends, cousins, neighbors, celebrate this day.  Equally as sad is that not all Father’s get to experience Father’s Day with their children.  Some by choice, it is true.  But many, because they are denied that right in one form or fashion.

I have been on both sides of the coin not only in my own childhood, but in the childhoods of my children and stepchildren.  My biological father was an alcoholic who had an affair, which caused he and my mother to divorce.  Once divorced and ordered to pay child support, medical expenses and save for my education, he made one support payment ($8O) and promptly left for California where he would not have to pay.  (Remember, this was about 45 years ago so CS enforcement was not what it is today.)  My mother never received another dime from him and I saw this man exactly three times between the ages of 3 and 18.  In sharp contrast is my step-dad, Charlie, who was always there for me.  Charlie loved me and my siblings.  We were his children.  Charlie has been gone from us for over 26 years, but when I think of my “Dad” I think of him.  His wisdom still guides me and I love him as much today as ever.

In the case of my own children, their biological father isn’t any better than mine.  While we were married, my ex-husband was somewhat active in the life of our daughter, but not our son.  Because of his disability, I suppose.  Once we separated, he took the kids on visitation only three times.  Only after my daughter contacted him when she was 17 did he begin somewhat of a relationship with her, but again, never our son.  To this day, as my daughter sits in prison, her biological father does nothing to support her.  He had seen our son three times in 10 years and that was only because I invited him to my son’s birthday parties and dog sat for him once.

Then there is my husband.  He is not only a truly wonderful man, he is a magnificent Father.  A huge part of what attracted me to him was his love for and his devotion to his children.  And eventually, his love for, and support of, my children.  He continues to offer support and guidance to my daughter through her challenges.   He recently adopted my son, autism and all.  He is their Dad in every sense of the word.

My husband wants every minute he can possibly get with all of our children.  Unfortunately, sometimes he is denied that right.  If you’ve read any of my other posts you are well aware of the antics we experience at the whimsy of the ex.  If you’re not familiar with our story let’s just sum it up with these three key phrases:  parental alienation, abusive/personality disordered woman, using  the children as pawns for control and manipulation.  By my way of thinking, if a child is blessed enough to have a father who cares, who wants to be active in their life and provide a solid, positive influence, why would you want to interfere in that?

Today I have thought a lot about my stepdaughter that isn’t my husband’s biological child.  How do you think she feels about Father’s Day?  To our knowledge, she doesn’t know the identity of her biological father.  At 10 years old her mother very effectively stole her father from her.  She was told by her mother the day we had the children’s cheeks swabbed that her daddy wasn’t really her daddy.  She was made to be the outcast by her mother.  Biology didn’t change the way my husband felt about his daughter.  He had loved her and cared for her from the time she was a baby.  Now suddenly he was the bad guy.  And all so the mother could hide her crimes.  This young girl is now graduated from high school and about to be an adult.  She suffers emotional issues and has trouble making and keeping friends.  Her own siblings have long been fearful of her.  She has been in trouble with the law.  Why?  In my opinion because the loving relationship she had with the man she knew as her father was destroyed.  You see, whether as an ex you like it or not, Daddy‘s are very important.

This type of thing is happening to men all the time.  We are making progress in the courts and in the views of society but we still have a long way to go.  Just because a woman is a mother does not automatically make her the better parent.  Just because a parent has physical custody does not give them the right to interfere with the relationship between a child and the other parent.  As a stepparent I feel it is important to support both parents to the children regardless of your feelings.  And believe me, I know that at times the feelings can be very negative.  But children need both parents.  Little girls and boys need a Daddy.  No matter what their age.  And kids need to be allowed to be kids.  They don’t need to have your emotional baggage and insecurities dumped on them.  It’s hard enough just being a kid.

So a big, enthusiastic Happy Father’s Day to all you wonderful men who love and adore your children as my husband does.  Much love to you.  Keep your head up and work towards doing the best you can to make things right.  If we can’t make the changes fast enough to help ourselves, at least we can work towards keeping these things from happening to other families in the future.

Parent Alienation and the Wizard of Oz

Written by Carolan Ross

http://www.squidoo.com/parent-alienation-syndrome-pas

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” – Edmund Burke

I believe this quote with all my heart.  The sad truth is, most people do not want to get involved.  They have their reasons.  Some of them justified.  From experience I can tell you it is exhausting.  It is complicated sometimes.  Messy.  It can be heart-breaking and stressful.  But it hurts us all when good people refuse, or simply become indifferent, to standing up for what is right. 
 
We are surrounded with examples of suffering caused by those who refuse to do what is right.  Children abused and neglected.  The elderly and people with disabilities suffering all types of unimaginable mistreatment.  Animals considered disposable.  Allowed to reproduce without concern for the over population of unwanted pets.  People are hungry.  People are sad.  Many people live in fear.  Pain is everywhere.  Not only for those enduring it, but for those who are trying to help.  Trying to make a difference.
 
The questions I pose are these:  Why are so many people reluctant to get involved?  Why?  Maybe it’s because so many people feel helpless.  Perhaps they feel they do not have the power to change anything.  Perhaps they fear repercussions from getting involved in what society deems as someone else’s business.  But what about the long term effects of turning a blind eye?  Does one really become comfortably numb as the Pink Floyd song says?  And if so, doesn’t that in itself cause another kind of pain? 
 
I believe we can make a difference.  Each of us.  Everyone has the power to effect change in their own way.  Many people have said to me, “You can’t change the world.”  You know, I don’t believe that.  Maybe I cannot change the whole, entire world but I can constantly work on changing myself for the better and helping to change the world of those around me.  In turn, when their world is changed, perhaps they will continue to grow and go out and change the world of those around them.  Isn’t that a beautiful thought?  Much less overwhelming than trying to focus on all that is wrong in the world.  When we see a need, nothing can bless us more than striving for a resolution.  Your contribution doesn’t have to be huge.  The smallest effort can make the biggest difference.  Sometimes, just a smile, a kind word of encouragement, a soft touch, can change someone’s outlook.  We all just want to be loved.  To have our existence validated.
 
Throughout history much of the progress of mankind has been made by those who were not the most powerful but by those who were the most passionate.  It’s not always money or status that effects change.  Great things come from humble hearts willing to simply do the right thing.  Take for instance Clara Barton.  From her passion for providing care to wounded soldiers during the civil war, the American Red Cross was founded.  Or what about Rosa Parks?  She had a strong sense of justice and equality and forever changed the face of the civil rights movement by quietly, yet firmly, refused to leave her seat on that bus.  Look at the men, women and children that come forward and see their physical and sexual abusers prosecuted each year.  They find strength to do what is right and resolve to see a horrible situation through to the end.  Most likely preventing further victimization of others.  These people stood up for what they believed and in varying degrees changed the world. 
 

We can change the world too.  One person, one animal, one smile or kind word at a time.  Help someone learn to read, be a voice for someone who cannot speak, right a wrong in helping someone seek justice.  There is so much that we can help and heal if only we will take the time to do what’s right.  I know it’s not always easy but I believe it’s our duty.

One does evil enough when one does nothing good.  ~German Proverb