For a long time, Dawn Mosisa had trouble forgiving herself for the way she shrugged off her daughter’s story about the teacher who hit one of her second grade classmates in the spring of 2003. Her daughter said the man ordered the class to count to 10 in French while he hit the boy 10 times with a ruler.
The girl was not in the habit of making up such stories, the mother said, but like most parents, Mosisa did not want to think that any educator would be so cruel, so she chose not to believe it. When the teacher left the school the next year, Mosisa grew more concerned. But she said she could not get anyone at Maryvale Elementary School in Rockville to explain to her or her child exactly what had occurred and how they should respond.
Abuse of a student at school is a parent’s nightmare. Not only do such incidents harm the victims and their parents, but they also trouble the children who may have witnessed the event and their parents. Such cases usually remain undisclosed because parents do not want their children embarrassed or disturbed by public knowledge of what happened. But Mosisa, 44, a student financial services official for a public university, has given an unusually detailed account that sheds light on a rarely examined side of public education.