Jason looked down on her with concern. For the life of him, he didn’t understand why she wouldn’t tell him what was wrong. There had to be a reason why no teacher had ever reported this type of abuse before. The healing bruise on her cheek confirmed to him that it was a regular thing. No girl who could walk in the heels she was wearing yesterday was that clumsy. He refused to believe it. When he let her go, he watched her walk with no confidence. He hated seeing that beautiful spirit in her broken.
He bumped into a few of his colleagues along his way to the office. He said his quick hellos as he continued walking. It was so hard for him to take this school seriously in that moment. With all the decorations adorning the walls for the football team and flyers giving out information for cheerleading tryouts. It’s like they were all wearing rose colored glasses. Nothing made sense to him. When he reached the office door, he paused. Jason knew what he was doing was the right thing, but how would this go over? Finally he opened the door and walked inside. The receptionist looked up at him with bright eyes, but he cared nothing for her flirting. All he wanted is to get justice for his student.
“I just need to talk to Dr. Raye.” The apprehension in him must have been showing. He had never had to do this before.
“She’ll be just a minute. Is it something that can wait?” The inquiry made Jason grit his teeth.
“No, it’s quite urgent.” He tapped his fingers on the wooden countertop. Patience had never been his virtue. “I really need to talk to her now.”
“Take a seat. She’ll be out momentarily.”
Jason gave her a tight smile and sat down on the couches behind him. It was sickening that he had to wait while she suffered. He probably should have asked someone to sit in with her so she wouldn’t be alone. He was too hell-bent on helping her to think of security. Hopefully his actions today would get her the safety and security she needed. And the fact that she had come to him spoke volumes. He knew what she was going through a little too well. And he wasn’t going to let her be a statistic. He’d advocate for her the way he wished someone had done for him. It wasn’t too long before Dr. Melanie Raye came out of her office to get him. She was a short woman with an attitude that took up the entire room. There was no denying her presence and it was one of sheer authority. She had earned her job rightfully.
“Hello Jason, how do you like it here so far?” she asked him as they walked down the hall.
“It’s okay. But I’ve got a situation that needs attention.” Jason couldn’t continue with niceties. It wasn’t in his nature.
“Well, let’s talk about it,” She said as she motioned him into her office. It was an office of extravagance. The chairs were all red leather and her desk was made of mahogany. “Take a seat, please.”
So he did, and then immediately started talking. “I have a student who is being abused. She came and saw me this morning. Her nose is broken and she has more healing bruises all over her face. We need to get the police involved.”
Dr. Raye looked at him with concern flashing through her eyes. “Who is the student in question? I’d like to talk to her.”
Melanie looked at him with concern. It was almost as though she doubted what he was saying. Jason squeezed his thigh. He was afraid that she was dismissing him based on that look.
“I’ll take care of it.” She said tightly.
“Well what are you going to do? I don’t want her to go home to that tonight.” Jason stood from the couch.
“Coach, I suggest you try to get along with your day. You have no proof that it came from anyone in her household. As I told you, I will take care of it. Make sure she gets to her classes today.”
Anger breathed up in Jason. He didn’t know why this woman was writing this kind of abuse off so quickly. “What if it is at her house? Could you live with yourself if something happened to her knowing I told you?”
“That is enough. Do as I said and go back to your classroom. Do your job.”
Jason stormed out of the office. Was it just him or was there something going on? He couldn’t put his finger on it. He just walked back to his classroom to Lana. He would help her if no one else was willing.
I woke up when someone laid a soft hand on my shoulder. I knew who it was almost immediately. I didn’t raise my head off the desk. The classroom had filled with his first period and I didn’t want them to see my face. If it was up to me, I’d lay here like this all day long with my face in the desk. He shook me gently. I knew what that meant.
“Lana, come on. I’m sorry but you have to go to your classes.”
Hearing that coming from him made my heart drop. I knew what was going on. I knew him going to the principal was hopeless. My parents gave the school district a lot of money to keep their mouths shut and their eyes turned. It didn’t matter that I was a sixteen year old walking around with a broken face. The higher ups would fall if my parents were caught.
“She’ll talk to me later, right?” I said tiredly. Jason nodded his head.
“I’m sorry kid. I’m going to do what I can. I’m going to push it through.” He sounded so sincere. I hated to burst his bubble. They would never actually investigate it.
“It’s all an accident, anyways, right?” I said what I had been coached to say since day one.
I stood from his chair and gathered my things. I didn’t know what would happen from here. Or if anything would happen. All I knew is that I didn’t want this man, who cared about my wellbeing, to be punished in any sort of way because of me. Maybe I shouldn’t have come to him. I had a feeling he was the bleeding heart type and I was right. And honestly, all I wanted to do was sit here and talk to him.
“Will you do me a favor, Coach?” I asked. He looked at me and nodded.
“Don’t push too hard and get yourself in trouble. Sometimes it’s a good idea to sit and watch.” There was pain in my voice as I spoke. I had fought for someone to believe me over the last few months. Now I had someone and I had to let them go.