My Thursday afternoon trip to my son's track meet was interrupted by a phone call that no parent likes getting. The principal from one of my daughter's schools was calling to tell me that Cayleigh had been involved in an incident with another student at recess. She was fine, and disciplinary action was going to be taken against the other student. After the shock of the call wore off, I got angry and then, sad. Is this what my daughters are going to continue to have to worry about?

This isn't the first incident Cayleigh has had happen to her this year. And both involved physical altercations with boys. Now I understand that kids can play rough. I have three at home that hurt each other from time to time. But the kind of violent acts my daughter has had done to her goes beyond playing. They raise concerns about what my daughters and girls everywhere constantly face. And that is the threat of violence from men, or boys in this case. We've tried to raise our kids to be kind and compassionate children. We've hammered home the fact that violence is NOT an answer and will not be tolerated. Those rules have applied to my daughters and my son. I'm not naive enough to think that these lessons are consistently taught to everyone, but I had always hoped that my daughters were safe from it. This year has taught me they are not.

Now don't get me wrong. I know that there are plenty of young boys and young men out there that never are involved in actions like these. I commend them and those who have taught them. I also understand how boys can roughhouse and play, and how those actions can sometimes get out of control. But not when my daughters end up in the crosshairs. Those boys need to know it is NOT o.k. to touch girls like that. It is NOT o.k. to hurt them. We need to teach these lessons early and often. An incident during 2nd-grade recess is one thing. But what happens if the behavior continues into junior high and high school?

I want to close by saying that the school district has been very good at keeping us informed of what goes on in our children's schools. I feel safe sending them there, and while incidents like these are scary, they are not the norm. But I sat down and had a tough conversation with my daughters last night. We talked about what they could do if a boy ever attacked them at school. It's not a talk that a father should have to have with an 8 and a 9-year-old.