I’m sure most of you have heard about the heart-wrenching and sickening news story about the Central Kentucky parents who are accused of prostituting their young teen-age daughters. This story is enough to make any half-way decent human being anguish over the horrible lives of these girls at the hands of their depraved and abusive parents. It is even harder to fathom that these parents were allowed to have custody of these children when recent updates to this story reveal that the parents were found guilty of attempting to sell a child several years ago. This is one of those stories that I can barely read about in the newspaper or watch on television without crying. Although many events of this story happened in my community and I’m sure my children have heard about it, I have tried to shield them from the details of what these girls were forced to do by the very people who are supposed to love and protect them. I don’t know how to explain that to my children.
What I do want to share with my children is the hero of this story, who in my opinion, is the teacher who identified that something was not right and made it her business to question the safety of the girls. She did not just pass by the underdressed girls standing outside the movie theatre in the freezing weather in a busy shopping area, but identified something was amiss and called the police. I’m sure she was busy with her own activities, maybe even with her own family, but she did not let a little inconvenience on her part keep her from doing the right thing.
I hope I would have done the same thing. However, I can’t be sure. I frequent that same shopping area and movie theatre and wonder if I would have really noticed? Maybe I would have been distracted by my own children or trying to get some shopping done or trying to make the movie’s start time. Would I have only thought to myself– “that looks odd” -but not have taken the time to really make it my business? Without this alert from the teacher and her follow-up with the authorities when the girls were absent from school, the parents' crimes might not have been discovered and the girls could have still been in danger today.
It really shouldn't surprise me that it was a teacher who noticed the situation. I’ve seen the teachers at the school my children attend notice similar needs about their students, though much less dramatic. The nod from the teacher at the school festival ticket booth to convey that she will pay for the student who is standing before me wanting to buy tickets, but not having the money to do so. I’ve witnessed the extra snack purchased at the basketball game concession stand and passed to the hungry child without a word spoken between them. I saw the popular book from the book fair purchased by a teacher and snuck into the backpack of a student whose parents may consider spending money on a book a luxury in these hard economic times. I’ve seen the extra attention and hugs given to students when they run into teachers at the grocery store.
I always thought of teachers as heroes because of the hard-work they do every day to educate, discipline, and inspire my children. However, I’ve never thought of them as crime-fighters and life-savers. But I do now.
Thank God for the teacher who was outside the movie theatre that day. I truly believe she saved those girls from several more years of continued abuse. And thank God for all the teachers who notice our children and perform the smaller, every day acts of kindness to improve their lives.