Conflicted Roles: A Mother’s Story

A friend, whose children once attended a school where she worked, recently told me this story:

“ Sometimes people think it’s easy to be both a teacher and parent with children at your school.  I really had to work at that. And it’s not a topic people talk about all that often or all that openly. I remember one incident where this became an issue. I had helped write the policies around substance abuse without ever thinking that someday they might be applied to my son.

I was walking into the school one morning, when the school’s head met me at the door and escorted me to his office, where he told me that, because of rumours  about  marijuana, they were about to search my son’s locker.

I was furious!  I couldn’t think rationally. They were going to search MY son’s locker – and there were other students in the hallway! I couldn’t think straight I was so angry. And still, in the very back of my mind – even as I raged — I thought that my son probably did smoke pot — once in a while.

When they did the search and found nothing, I was still angry. And I still remember the principal’s saying, “Someday, as painful as this ordeal has been, someday it may cast some light on an area that he’ll need to work on.”

Years later I can say that the head did the right thing. He had to do that search, given what he knew. And my son did smoke. The incident did bring things to a head. My son recovered and has gone on to a successful career, but I still sometimes think back about that spring morning and about how, even though I see myself as a professional teacher, there are times when, teacher or not, you’re still a parent.”

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