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Someone Needs You To Give A Damn

This seems to be the week for stories. So be it.

A long time ago there was a teacher who creeped me out. No abuse, fortunately. But still, something wasn't right.

I told my parents and my dad had a secret conversation with the school board. He had done a little digging and sources told him that the rabbi was in fact a predator.

My dad is Eastern European in manner and dress and they laughed him off.

Then my mother went into action.

You have to understand that my mother is quiet, short, and normally extremely shy.

But on that quiet sunny Friday she drive her little old car at top speed to my school.

I watched in awe and fear.

She harrumphed up to the curb. She had on old jeans and a T-shirt like always. She is the polar opposite of my dad, 100 percent Middle America.

My mother stomped up the broken brick walkway. She flung open the heavy metal door. She raced through the hallway and up the rickety stairs.

I couldn't keep up with her. I felt like I was going to fall.

My mother grabbed the door handle to the principal's office and went in.

As she did I took a long look down the hallway. I thought about how that tyrant seemed to be starting with me. And how I felt scared and powerless to name it.

But my mother did know.

She leaned in and loomed in front of the secretary. Loud and strong she said, "Get me Rabbi --. Now."

I thought that secretary was going to have a heart attack.

When my mother emerged from the principal's office she had a look on her face that can only be described as cat eating mouse for lunch.

They did find a solution that day. The principal skipped me up a grade. He was still scared to fire the teacher.

Another student stood up to the teacher later on. He set up a bucket of water above the door. The teacher opened it and got flooded.

Rabbi Awful turned around and smacked (or punched) the student right in the face. In front if all of us. Now they had a "real" reason to fire him.

At the end of the day, there are two kinds of attitudes one can take to the world.

You can sit back in fear or apathy or ignorance and hope to quietly get along and survive.

Or you can make whatever you are doing into a cause. You can make it your passion.

My parents both stood up for me. But I witnessed the righteous wrath of my mom. And I physically saw the integrity and self-sacrifice of another student.

Because of all of them - the quiet and not-so-quiet passionate people alike - I escaped what could have been a traumatic fate.

Wherever you are, you can make a difference. And know that there are others counting on you to do just that.

Good luck!

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