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Chapter Eleven

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I waited two hours after school closing time to speak to our headteacher. Usually, I would leave a note or an email and wait for a response, but Jack's mental well-being was far more worth waiting for a face-to-face conversation.

I made sure to speak to Jack's grandmother, before she took him back home, telling her to forget about school right now. The woman's son was in jail for murdering his wife. The trauma that came along with that would take anyone off their feet for a while.

It didn't bear thinking about.

The sound of echoing footsteps had me standing up from my chair to see Mr Adler rounding the corner with several files piled high in his arms. "Evening, Sir. Can I have a word?"

Mr Adler's exhausted-looking face softened at the sight of me. "I was half-expecting for you to be waiting here. Please come inside my office."

The room was chilly when we stepped inside of it, the window half-open to let in an awful draft. I closed it while Mr Adler turned on the gas heater, switching on the kettle too. I sat down on the luxurious leather armchair positioned in the corner, feeling its plushness comforting my tensed up body.

"I suspect we owe you an apology?" he said.

I reached out for the cup of herbal tea he offered me, eyes on him as he sat opposite with his steaming mug. "An explanation would be better. Jack Scully is my student under my care. Surely, I should have been told of his circumstances first?"

He sighed. "Everything you're saying is right. We've never had a student with this trauma here at Old Clee Primary. I'll admit that it's thrown us out of the loop. I personally was going to tell you this morning, but got caught up in board meetings and a last-minute complaint. I can only apologise."

"It isn't about me," I said, shaking my head. "How're we going to help Jack?"

"There isn't a lot we can do, I'm afraid, as this is an issue away from the school gates," he replied.

Surely there was something more we could do to help. "I think that's incredibly ignorant on the school's behalf."

Mr Adler's nodded his head, continuing the action for a few moments after it. "I don't disagree with you, but it's the law."

"Please forgive me for speaking out of turn, but I believe as a school, the welfare of our kids is our problem. I think we're being lazy here," I said, praying he wouldn't discipline me for speaking this way.

"You're right. But, school policy rules out this kind of stuff and we have to abide by them for a reason. Social services are involved, so it ties our hands."

The thought of Jack not getting the help he needed made my blood boil. I became a teacher to help children grow and learn. Be a confidante. I wanted to guide them in any way I could.

"I just want to help the family," I replied, taking a long sip of tea. "In doing that, would I be breaching my job contract?"

The expression on his face said it all. He wanted me to be there for the family, to say whatever to polices of this school, but like he said, it tied his hands. "Go for it. But please tread carefully, they're grieving with strangers around them. It's bound to be upsetting, and with the police case going ahead, Jack is going to be under a lot of stress."

It was hard to comprehend, really. Having such an evil person be a part of your family and not being aware of it until something awful happened. "It's incredibly unfair. Jack is still so young. How can they expect to involve him in the case?"

He shook his head. "Unfortunately, Jack is their number one witness because he saw the attack. I don't know how they'll deal with that apart from interviewing him."

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