Today was the PSAT. On Wednesdays, 7-12 grades meet; we require 8-11 grades to take the PSAT or some other standardized test. 7th graders go off on a history field trip. 12th graders go on a Bubble Buster tour.
Our students tend to come from very privileged, fairly sheltered backgrounds. Most of them are upper middle class. Almost all of them come from stable, loving homes. While many of them have part-time jobs, none of them are helping support their families; they’re earning money for gas and cars and movie tickets and college.
We live in a city that is a major national hub for human trafficking. Our school is in a very nice part of town, and we are 10 minutes from some areas that are dense with brothels and strip clubs. Today, we partnered with a local ministry group that is working to end human trafficking. We took our seniors to hear about their work, tour their small museum (in a former brothel), and take a bus tour of one of the nicest parts of the city where our tour guide pointed out brothel after brothel after strip club after brothel and told us what they’re doing to help the victims.
This was not an easy day. I and the other adult chaperone felt sick for most of the morning because of what we were hearing – sick that this happens, sick that people find it acceptable to buy and sell other people’s bodies, sick that young girls and women are forced into and kept in this, sick that other people create an economic demand for it.
Watching our students, though, was good. Some of them didn’t know how to handle it and engaged intellectually but not emotionally. They weren’t disrespectful, though. Many of them, however, walked through the museum alone or in pairs, reading silently or quietly talking about what they were seeing, taking it very seriously. There were a lot of damp eyes, wide eyes, upset eyes – upset about things that are by their very nature upset.
Some bubbles were busted today, mine included.