Friday Fact

  1. The nationwide poverty rate is about 14%. 
  2. California's adjusted poverty rate is about 23%.
  3. The poverty rate in my school district is 52%.


Golden Rule, please

I was finishing my lunch at my desk, the only place besides my car that I ever eat at work, when one of the translators that I share an office with approached me in a huff. “I see that you’re eating your lunch, so you can wait until you finish, but there’s a situation in Room D-1 that you need to check out. A little girl’s breath smells like poop.” Well, thanks for that description while I eat my brown, meaty pasta dish.

I tried to refrain from rolling my eyes at her and acted like this was definitely a situation that she could not have waited until I finished my lunch to discuss with me. “So, what’s going on with her?”

Translator, impatiently: “I don’t know, her breath smells like poop, you need to go find out.”

Me: “Have you had her open her mouth? Maybe she has an infection.”

Translator: “She says she brushes her teeth every day.” (Did not answer my question, but thanks for that tidbit, lady.)

If there is one thing that particularly irks me, it’s adults being mean to kids, including treating them as “less than” when they have something going on they cannot control – lice or bad breath or any other issues. I went to check out the “situation” for myself. I took the little kindergartner outside of her classroom, got down at eye level with her, and introduced myself. I had her open her mouth, and saw some metal fillings in the back. She told me her teeth hurt in the back, but that she hadn’t told her parents yet. Poor thing also said, with no mention of breath from me, “I know my breath stinks. The other kids tell me so.” We had a nice little talk about how that might be a sign of infection, and she promised she would ask her parents to take her to the dentist. I let the teacher know, and she said she’d talk with the parents about it at pick-up time.

I returned to my shared office with the translator, and told her that, besides not being able to detect a hint of bad breath myself, the girl is self-conscious about it. As in, stop making a big deal about it, woman! This translator is probably the same type of person as the school nurse I’ve seen that says to a student after a failed vision screening, in front of all of his or her classmates, “You failed. Your parents will get a letter in the mail, you need to see an eye doctor.”