There have been some troubling reports of abuse in Madison in the last couple of months. They have led to a number of questions regarding, what could and should we have done differently.
If there is any positive outcome to these tragedies, it is that neighbors are reaching out to each other and perhaps working harder to be good neighbors. It is my belief that this is one of the most important things we can do as citizens and human beings; look out for each other. If you think there is something suspicious going on nearby, report it. If you do not think you are getting a response, report it again.
I want to share with you an incident in which someone, in fact a City employee, did stand up and speak out when she saw a wrong. She is a Madison Metro bus driver, and last November, she stepped out of her comfort zone and reported child abuse.
The incident happened as the bus passed a mother and her 3-year-old child on a North Pinckney Street sidewalk. The driver, who contacted police, reported that the woman reached into a stroller and struck the young child multiple times while yelling at her to shut up and go to sleep.
The woman was tentatively charged with physical abuse of a child.
I am pleased to say that the driver's efforts have not gone unnoticed. She is being publically recognized this spring by the South Central Branch of the Wisconsin Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. Members of the local chapter are honoring the driver for taking responsibility and taking the time to go out of her way to report the abuse rather than look the other way and go about her daily routine.
Of course our bus driver did not know her actions would win her recognition or be reported in the newspaper. She reported the abuse because it was the right thing to do. I know many people have done the same thing without recognition. I applaud anyone who has taken those actions and I applaud our bus driver. It's people like her who make Madison a wonderful city in which to live.