Closeup of the red wire used to hold the thorny branches in place.
Authority without good third-party oversight and accountability enacted a GREAT HARM on many of us. Those of us who lived through it.
The red wire is symbolic of the many small but significantly trauma-enabling decisions in administration, policy, regulation...especially proper documentation.
The court's administration of 'justice' - to protect the rights of the teacher - are understandable. They also enabled her to continue harming us.
The authority kept us children stuck back in that classroom with an abusive teacher - despite the testimony of witness after witness to the cruelty, humiliation, and abuse.
The persons hiring her could have left the push for their preferred brand of 'religion' or 'morality' out of it and only compared the resumes/experience/education.
Once hired, the persons in charge could have properly documented complaints in writing.
The school district could have set better expectations for conduct.
The good, caring staff and teachers could have been better supported.
Once allegations of abuse came in....another teacher's aid could have been assigned in the classroom, possibly, or an observer of some kind.
The physical abuse should have been reported to the police with proper documentation.
Once it came into the justice system...the court could have ordered her full paid leave - pending mental health evaluation.
A court should have tried to find a way to protect us. For instance, it could have demanded a court-appointed child advocate to at LEAST investigate the allegations of abuse. AT LEAST we could have had that minimal protection while they both looked out for her 'rights' AND OURS.
I feel some tiny bit of hope, I guess...or comfort. The world has changed a bit.
If a teacher were to do those things now, and people were to step up and make a proper complaint, s/he would likely end up not only without a job, but in mental health treatment or failing that, prison.
Closeup of the thorny branches encompassing the piece.
Detail of an apple with a common saying that...wasn't my experience with that teacher. But thanks to several other teachers, I have known the healing and wonder that good education can bring.
I can't imagine what life must have been like being a caring, healthy teacher or staff member in such a school.
The paint is red acrylic mixed in with heavy gloss medium; once dried, the clear gloss dimensional 'tears & sweat' were added over.