More on Willful Coraline
Smooth firm beautiful and fierce
Classic sweet sixteen
Rage and frustration made me rigid. The warped logic of my defiant teen was impossible to contend with. Pursuing this would just make things worse. It was pointless to debate this issue. She wasn’t going to listen. Not this day, anyway. I just put my hands in the air in a gesture of surrender and walked away.
This downward spiral picked up momentum a few weeks ago. It started with a call from a teacher about her text messaging in class. As a consequence, I disconnected the service to her phone. The next day, school security called about a fight with a classmate. School officials and I learned that the girls had been on face book during the night, and while online challenged one another to a fight at school. At my request, the school issue laptop was confiscated. Angry because she lost her phone and internet access, my daughter felt compelled to “pay me back” by running away. She was gone for 5 days.
I filed a police report. Even though our town has only 16,000 people; she was able to stay hidden for 5 days. Frantic with worry, I located her cell phone and went through her phone numbers. I called every person on her roster and got various answers. Most of the kids I talked to had spotted her recently. One girl said she thought she had been “hit.” She meant “been hit by a car” a few hours earlier so I called the community hospital and she was, in fact, in the emergency room.
The MRI scan showed no injuries. She was spouting off about pressing charges and suing the driver. My daughter also refused to come home with me. The hospital referred me to “Juvenile Justice” and a man on duty spoke with her and persuaded her to come home. Later that night, the police came to my house to confirm that she was in fact, at home. They told me they went to the house where she had been staying and warned the mother that she had been harboring a “runaway.”
The next day, she left again, and again, I called the police. Within 30 minutes, the police brought her home in handcuffs. The police officer reported to me that while the mother was at work, the girls were entertaining some young men. My daughter was not wearing any clothes when the police arrived.
The next day we had an appointment with a psychologist who spent over an hour with each one of us separately. Coraline promised the psychologist she would stay home until the next appointment which was two days later.
Two days later, I arrived at the high school 15 minutes early to take her to the therapist and she was already in the principal’s office getting suspended. She had left the school site and the school discovered this when I called ahead and asked them to get her out of class. At the psychologist’s office it was an unproductive session.
That same evening, as I am preparing dinner, the police knock on my door. Coraline was in the back of their car. I was not aware she had left the house. This time, she staged a fight with her friends in order to produce a movie for “You Tube.” The neighbors called the police.
The next morning, my son Daniel said: “Mom, there is somebody else sleeping in Coralines' bed." I went to Coralines' room, and the girl whose home she had stayed in was asleep in her bed next to Coraline. This was also the same girl with whom she had staged a fight. I woke “Brenda” and told her that this was my house, not Coralines’ and if she needed a place to stay she should have come to me, not Coraline. I told her to leave immediately, and Coraline left with her.
At this point, I needed to go to work. I was past caring where Coralline was. My other children left for school and I went to work.
Within 3 hours, I received a call from CPS who had Coraline. They wanted me to come right away. The CPS social worker stated that Coraline told them I beat her and kicked her out of the house and told her never to come back.
“Noooooo, Coraline is grounded and forbidden to leave the house. I do not hit my children, but I do disconnect the cell phone and the internet and Coraline is very angry with me for doing that.” The social worker asked me more questions; she said she would come to my home and interview any minors who lived in the home. In the meantime, there was no evidence that I physically struck Coralline and I was instructed to take her home. Coraline refused to come with me, and refused to leave CPS premises. The social worker called the police.
Instead of uniformed police officers, a plainclothes detective came about 45 minutes later while Coraline and I sat across the table from one another in a stony silence. This was the same detective who took the report when I first reported Coraline missing. The detective asked me and the social workers (now there were two in the room) to leave him alone with Coraline. I heard the detective speak sternly to her. He said: “Get up!” Next thing I knew, she was being escorted out in handcuffs. He said: “We are going to Baker.” I looked at the social workers and one of them volunteered: “That’s adult jail.” In our state, 16 year olds are treated as adults for criminal justice purposes.
Coraline was charged with 2nd degree trespass, and resisting arrest, both misdemeanors. Her hearing date was not for 40 days. At this point in time, I thought jail was a good place for her. I didn’t have to anguish about the danger she was repeatedly putting herself in.
Coraline called me from jail that night, at about 11:30. She said: “Do you KNOW I am in jail?” I replied: “Yes, I do. How do you like it?” Coraline replied: “It's all right.” I said: “Well, that’s good, good night then.” I hung up the phone. That night I slept better than I had in several months.
It was a relief that I didn’t have regular visions of her corpse in a field somewhere, but this was not over. Coraline was released from jail with “time served” after 15 days. Another day in court was scheduled by juvenile justice regarding her status as “ungovernable.” Prior to this day in court, she ran again; this time she was gone for a week. She did attend school and the school social worker persuaded her to attend her court hearing and even took her to court. Coraline was placed on “supervised probation.” We now have additional services on the way, and I hope we can survive the wait.
The school placed her on an “independent study” program to give Coraline a chance to catch up. She has no reason to leave the house. This morning she walked past me with a backpack and she was carrying her friend’s shoes. I told her I would have to call her probation officer if she left. She left and I called. I have done everything I can, I can’t do anymore, and I don’t care. I wish I really felt that way.