Everyone, I’m overwhelmed.
Overwhelmed with gratitude at all the support I’ve received from students, teachers, alumni, friends, family members, the administration, the police, the news media and complete strangers who are thanking me every day for speaking out.
I’m so grateful for the students who trusted me enough to tell me about the issues happening on campus and grateful for their gentle encouragement when they asked me if I’d be willing to help them resolve them by telling my story.
Never in a million years did I imagine that the simple act of posting this story on my blog would garner so much attention and inspire such swift action.
I’m overwhelmed and honored by all of the women and girls coming to me to share their own stories of abuse, many of them who are opening up about it for the first time.
There is so much light all of a sudden and I’d like for us to keep it glowing and growing.
Already, by the strength of our numbers and our deep desire for change, we are positively transforming the collective consciousness of this community, and Norwalk will never be the same.
My desire is to see Norwalk transform into a community where the voices of children are heard, where their stories are believed the first time and not when it’s too late, where those who have trespassed against them are held accountable for their actions without delay, where educators are held to the highest standard, where the climate of every school is absent of a rape culture that permits these situations to happen in the first place, where silence is not golden, and where the development of skills to maintain healthy boundaries, relationships and levels of self-esteem in all but especially female students is given priority both within the curriculum and outside of daily classroom activities.
Additionally, I am strongly considering initiating the formation of on-campus female empowerment groups to help eliminate the continuation of outdated tendencies for women and girls to compete with one another, teaching them instead to celebrate and support one another and stand in solidarity for a greater cause. The time is ripe for such movements on campus: I strongly believe that if we can teach girls early on to stand up for one another, we can completely eliminate the pattern of slut-shaming that motivates survivors of sexual violence to maintain their silence.
We can make it happen. There is so much strength in our numbers. We’ve just witnessed it this week. I published “The Teacher Crush” on Wednesday morning . The students and all of you spread it like wildfire so that by the time Thursday morning came around, Mr. Robert Gutierrez didn’t even get to make it through first period before getting escorted out and suspended from teaching. By Friday the story was aired on three local channels and news vans were outside of the school, and an official media statement was released confirming that Mr. Gutierrez had been removed and an investigation was underway. I didn’t do that. WE did that.
WE can do so much more.
Let’s work together to change this community for the better.
We can no longer just rely on the administration to do this work for us. We must all work together to make change happen. We must show how much we care for our future generations’ safety and healthy evolution. Parents, students and community members must ALL become involved, just as we have in the past few days.
Imagine what we can achieve by maintaining this momentum?
Are you ready?
To read my story, “The Teacher Crush,” please click on the link below: