awareness

Safe Place

There’s at least one every year.

It usually starts with a drop-in from the counselor. “We need a safe place for _______________. Is it ok if we have the library as her safe place?”

The answer is always yes. Of course.

The reasons are many. For some, it’s a desire to run away. In my years in the public education system, we’ve had a handful of students who cope with things by physically running out of the school. Sometimes they make it to the street, down the road, into the woods. As you might imagine, a student exiting the building is cause for everything and everyone to stop what they are doing until the student is found. After the student is located, there is a process that begins…protocols, safety measures, and so on. One part of the protocol is identifying safe places for those students to go when they feel that urge to escape. My library is pretty big and I have no problem leaving students alone. So the counselor brings that student in and shows them where they can go to be undisturbed.

We’ve had other students who try to harm themselves. Much like our students who need to escape, the library is a place they can go to be alone and decompress. I have worked on the art of watching these kids without putting them under a microscope. We all know adults to just need a time out, but don’t need to be overly isolated. I strive to be that safe place where a student can be just alone enough to gather themselves.

At times it is students who can’t be in the room for whatever is being taught. We have families who don’t want their students exposed to stories about magic. We have other families who don’t celebrate certain holidays. In that case, we are the place that students can come to avoid that content.

And then there are the students with health conditions. From seasonal allergies to epileptic seizures, I am the place where students go when being outside for recess isn’t a safe option. I try to give these little guys things to do while they are inside. I hurt at times for these kids, since being outside is so vital to health and such a fun part of the school day.

I guess I am in the margins. A catch-all for students who need a place to just be who they are for whatever reason. A welcoming spot for anyone who is a little different. Do you have a place like that? Or maybe it’s a person?

friendship

Flashback Friday

Circa 1988, parking lot hangouts. That’s where you would find me and my hoodlum friends on the weekends. No cell phones back in the day. If you had a car you huddled up in random parking lots and made plans for the night from car window to car window. Maybe it was adventures or maybe you were sitting at the beach people watching, strutting your stuff in your tricked out ride or crushing on your main squeeze.

Now that I painted a picture of my younger days, I am going to fast forward to corona 2020 and a new a kind of parking lot rage. One I can’t take credit for but need to give it a test drive. Two cars, two chicks, windows down, talking up a blue streak, giggling from 6 feet away. Enjoying some sunshine, some shades, blue skies and topped it off with Starbucks.

Talk about about an irony. Thirty plus years difference. Technology exploded during that time and as of two months ago people would text away for a social connection yet today we screamed nonsense out the window at each other just for a human connection. Crazy what solitude does to people but how fun to take a walk down history lane.

I’m wondering how many others out there had their own parking lot hangouts back in the day or even today?

When chatting it up we thought about what the hot topics were back in 1988. I would definitely be having chats about who’s hot, what car they drive and what’s up this weekend.

Chick 2 said she was studying for her SATs or something nerdy to pass time, waiting on the good old land line to ring. She might have even had a rotary phone for those of you who know what that is. Maybe that’s why the phone didn’t ring.

Then we talked outfits. What would Chick 1 be wearing? The conclusion was: high waisted acid washed jeans, big ass hair with Aqua Net spray in it, and a polo shirt of some sort. Chick 2 in contrast was skipping around in her Catholic school uniform. Pleated plaid skirt, high knee socks, saddle shoes and a pastel blouse that her mother ironed.

How could two chicks be more polar opposites? And this is why we have totally different storytelling abilities. Chick 1 was a sports freak in 1988 and Chick 2 was a band geek, again noting their differences.

What’s your story and when are you going to write it?