Not on my shift

By Nancy Black

All I wanted to do was squeeze past them with my grocery basket to get to the next aisle at Walmart. What happened next is still haunting me. 

There was a young boy, maybe nine or 10, who was leaning against his family’s basket while his siblings and mom picked out something from the meat cases. I couldn’t quite get my basket around the corner, so I said in my sweetest mom voice, “Excuse me, darling.” 

The young boy turned around, smiled and started to move but, before he could, his mother reached over, pinched him on his upper arm VERY hard and grabbed the cart out of the way. 

Her other two children, who were older, quickly looked the other direction and then walked away.

“Oh, my, God!” I said to the mother with a horrified look on my face. “I would have NEVER said anything had I known you would do that!”

“Oh, it’s OK,” she responded. “he’s been acting up all day.”

First off, he wasn’t acting up. And, secondly, even if he were, you DO NOT pitch a child. Unless you are purposely trying to raise a bully. That mother is obviously a bully. And she should be ashamed of herself. But she wasn’t.

I know parents are allowed to discipline their own children however they want. But it hurts my heart to know there are so many physically and emotionally abused children in the world, in our country and in our own local Walmart!

Ironic to my situation was that I had just gone through Title IX training for Dallas College the day before. I recently accepted a part-time position as the new Student Media Adviser for the Eastfield Campus’ award-winning student newspaper, The Etcetera. Thus, the training.

In the past, when I thought of Title IX, I thought about equality in sports at schools. True, but it covers so much more. Any education program or activity that receives federal financial assistance is required to comply with Title IX. Part of that cooperation is training faculty and staff, even the janitors, about Title IX.

I am now what they call a “Mandatory Reporter.” 

Being a mandatory reporter means I am required by law to report incidents on campus of alleged discrimination, harassment or violence, both physical and mental. I wish that requirement extended to the aisles of Walmart. 

I passed that little boy a couple more times on my way through the store that afternoon. His face was streaked with tears, his shoulders were hunched over and he was frowning. I tried to whisper to him, “I’m so sorry,” the best I could without his mother hearing me. I wish I could have given him a hug, and then mandatorily reported his mother.

This sad incident reminded me of the important work being done by Dallas CASA. Dallas CASA has been a long-time friend of White Rock Lake Weekly. We support all their efforts to recruit Court Appointed Special Advocates (hence CASA), who guide abused children through the legal processes they find themselves in. 

Some children are put in “the system” because of physical abuse or neglect, and some because their parents are incarcerated. Whatever situation brought them to the courts, a CASA volunteer guides them through the process by being that child’s advocate, no one else’s. CASA heroes go through rigorous training and extensive background checks. 

I wish I had time to be volunteer with CASA. But maybe some of you do have time and have been thinking about a way you can make an important difference. You can read more about becoming a CASA volunteer at 

We can’t always help a child when we want to — like in the aisles of Walmart. But when we can help, it is our duty to protect anyone who is suffering from violence at the hands of another.