Hello fellow pediatric nurses!
My name is Laura and I work in a pediatrician's office in Ontario, Canada. I really could use some advice on how to handle this particular situation. I HOPE you can give me some insight.
First a little background. I have a 10 year old son and about two weeks ago he was assaulted by his teacher. To make a long story short, we filed a police report, had a long conversation with the principal and had my son moved out of the classroom. His old teacher is known by most of the kids as a "mean" teacher....and yes...she's still teaching.
The other day at work I was looking through our upcoming schedule when I noticed that one of our young patients will be coming in on Monday and the reason given for his visit is "problems in school." This boy is in my son's old class. Also, I know him and his family quite well and he's generally one of those well adjusted kids who does well in school and has lots of friends.
I pointed out the appointment to my boss and told him that the boy is in my son's old class. (the Doc knows what happened) I don't regret alerting him to this possiblity. But I'm not sure just how far I should allow this to go.
His problems could conceivably be totally unrelated to the teacher...in which case I'd have nothing to worry about. But what if it is the teacher....what if she's hurting yet another child? Is it ethical for me as a nurse to relay to the parent what happened to my son with this teacher? Or should I keep my mouth shut?
I know it's a lot of what if's...but I want to be prepared. If it is indeed the teacher again, then I can't in good conscience stand by and let her hurt a child like she did mine. But at the same time I'm concerned that I'd be overstepping my boundries as a medical professional and getting myself into really hot water.
What would be the correct intervention here?
Oct 13, '00
Wow! You do have a problem. Personally, I think it would be unethical of you not to mention to ALL parents of children in this teacher's class - they have a right to know what kind of teacher their children are being influenced by.
If this child coming to your office has a school problem definitely unrelated to the abusive teacher, maybe not appropriate to add to her worries then. But if at all possible, organize a meeting of parents from the school. Maybe even notify the media of what this teacher has done, and that the teacher is still working there!!! It's outrageous!!!!!!!!!! Look out for all children that may cross her path.
Oct 23, '00
Hi Laura, I'm Laura too. This is a real toughie! I agree with Mona that you have a parental responsibility to ALL the parents of those children. I think organizing a meeting of those parents should be considered, whether or not, this child's problem is related to the teacher or not. Another thought is to casually engage the mother in conversation when you see the child. Like when you are getting a weight or vitals, say "Oh, I notice you go to my son's school, how's it going?" Or something like that. Very best of luck to you, your child, and those others affected by this "teacher."
Oct 26, '00
Thank you for the advice.
It was a tough decision, but what I ended up doing was informing my boss and leaving it up to him to assess the situation. I figured I would wait to see what came out of it before deciding what to do. Yes, the boy is having problems in school, but it's not completely clear (at least to the doc) if the teacher is involved or the cause. So he was referred to a child psychologist who hopefully will be able to sort this out and help him. In the mean time, I wait and watch.
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