2.10.2010

Here's Looking At You Kid

A few weeks ago I was in the girl's locker room with Riley and her friends after swimming practice helping them change. The girls were giggling loudly, recalling the projects they did that day in class, when all of the sudden, I got a funny feeling that we were being stared at. Sure enough, I looked over and the bathroom attendant was watching us. Like it was no big deal. For those of you not familiar with this practice, bathroom attendants are quite common in India. They spend their whole day in the restroom, supposedly cleaning, and in the school's case, safeguarding the kids personal property. However, I don't enjoy the gawking, so I stared back long enough for her to avert her eyes. But she didn't move. Or flinch when we left. I made a mental note to talk to the administration.

Then, early last week, a friend of mine stopped me outside the bathroom and complained she found the same woman, along with another cleaning lady, sleeping. My first response was, "again?" I thought by now that so many people would have complained about her sleeping the administration would have taken charge and nipped it in the bud. But sleeping isn't a terminable offense here, and every where you go you see people sleeping on the job.

On Monday I came unglued. Seriously ... wicked ... upset. My daughter complained to me that two bathroom attendants in the girl's locker room were staring at her and her friends while they were changing after ballet. There were no other adults in the locker room at the time. She told me she didn't like it. Neither did I.

Without hesitation, I high tailed my tush to the head of the maintenance department to demand this woman be removed. On my way I ran into a girlfriend, who mentioned that this same attendant had been caught in the past with photos of school girls on her camera phone, and that when confronted, admitted she took them, deleted them, and agreed to leave her phone at the security desk during her work day. Hearing this, sent me over the edge. I had been in the locker room myself earlier that day, and I saw her with her phone in her hand.

I'm sure you can picture me at this point, with my sharply furrowed brows and tightly pursed lips, talking to the management in a loud, sharp-edged voice. I was relentless. I was not about to walk away until I was assured that she would be removed immediately. We don't need this type of inappropriate behavior from the staff at our highly accredited school. Within minutes of hearing what happened, I was guaranteed that this situation would be dealt with immediately, that it would be taken care of by the end of the day.

Imagine my surprise when I came to school yesterday and she was still there. Seriously still there. Not fired. Not removed. On our campus. I had trouble picking my jaw up off the floor. I won't bother to tell you the excuses I was given, for they no longer matter. When I got home yesterday, I immediately sent an e-mail to the Head of School, and by this morning the woman was no longer there. I checked. Several times.

It's been an emotional few days... I'm glad it's over. The tension was slightly overwhelming. In the end, I, and everyone else who I told, agreed that we don't take chances when it comes to our kids. While I'd like to believe she didn't mean any harm, there was no need for her constant presence in the locker room. Crisis averted... for now.

18 comments:

Mom24 said...

Absolutely unacceptable. Unbelievable that it wasn't handled immediately. Good job for being persistent. It definitely is not okay. Hopefully not harmful, but still not okay.

Geoff M said...

I hate Indian staring.

Emily said...

I am so glad you were able to get her removed. That is unacceptable behavior for someone working with kids. Well done for not giving up the fight.

Jen said...

That is scary. I am so glad that its over now.

Kelly said...

Ewww, double Ewwww....disgusting and unacceptable. First of all just because she is a woman doesn't mean she can't be harmful to children. Second, she could have been "selling" pictures of undressed children to other degenerates. I would still follow up with a letter of events to whomever is the school administrator's superior; they handled this situation very badly!!!

Kirsten said...

Um.... NOT OKAY AT ALL. If your daughter and her friends were uncomfortable, that says a lot. Kids have pretty good instincts. She never should have even been allowed back after the picture taking incident.

Glad you stuck up for the kids!

Shannon said...

Seriously creepy even allowing for cultural differences. I am glad the problem is resolved.

A Daring Adventure said...

Photos of school girls on her camera phone = One Way Ticket to Firing.

That one is a no-brainer!

It's not a grey area. It's not something that needs to be discussed. It's black and white.

I'm actually appalled that you needed to address the situation more than once. Not cool.

Robin said...

What everyone else said. Ewww, yuck, and definitely unacceptable. Very uncool.

Natalie said...

Good gravy, that is just creepy. Glad you put a stop to it before something more than vague discomfort happened. Eek.

Sara said...

Good for you! Wow!!!!

Heide said...

Having been an expat wife and mother (to a 9y, 6y, and newborn) for 3 years in Mexico (similiar in some ways to India)...my heart started beating faster for you when I read your post. No doubt about it that this was completely unacceptable, and you did the right thing. Way to go!

fsowannabe said...

Makes my stomach turn just hearing that story. I'm glad she is no longer there!

Donna said...

That is truly scary. I understand the staring gets a pass, but the camera? Yikes. Who made the decision to keep her??

Lisa said...

that gives me the willies. Jill, I'm sorry you & your girls had to go through that. Just yuck!

Teresa said...

So....last year we had all that hoopla about drivers not being allowed on campus because they were taking photos of CLOTHED children, which seriously upset me as no one would ever tell me WHICH drivers (ie was it MY driver? Because then he would be out of a job!!). At the same time, I rely on him to go and pick my youngest up AT THE CLASSROOM DOOR (because that's necessary at his age), so suddenly refusing to allow my driver on campus was very irritating. Yet they had a female staff member doing the very same thing??? WTH! I'M REALLY GLAD YOU TOOK CARE OF THIS! (And I still think that if a driver is acting inappropriately while on campus then their boss should be told!)
Teresa

Christy said...

How creepy is that! Ugh - sooo glad you persevered and got her dismissed!

MarĂ­a said...

wow. That is super creepy, I don't even know what to say. I'm glad they finally got rid of her, and I hope it's for good!

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