My son and I are leaving our small town in southeastern United States to live for a year in a small town in southeastern France. It couldn't possibly be THAT different, right?

Friday, November 11, 2011

La main courante

In addition to all of the wonderful things that I'm learning this year, I'm also learning things that I never wanted to learn.  I copied the following definition from because I have to go to the police station tomorrow to file this type of report against the maintenance man of the property where we live.  

Qu'est-ce qu'une main courante  Mis à jour le 08.07.2011 par Direction de l'information légale et administrative (Premier ministre), Ministère en charge de la justice

Faire une déclaration en main courante, c'est faire consigner des faits sans déposer plainte. C'est une simple déclaration.

De quoi s'agit-il ?Le dépôt sur main courante est une simple déclaration d'un particulier.
Le dépôt sur main courante est un moyen pratique pour dater des évènements d'une certaine gravité mais qui ne sont pas à eux seuls caractéristiques de la commission d'une infraction  (exemples : constat du départ du conjoint du domicile, non présentation de l'enfant conformément aux règles fixées dans une décision de justice, bruits de voisinage).
Il est utile de noter le jour et l'heure de la déclaration, ainsi que son numéro d'enregistrement, car cette formalité accomplie pourra constituer un début de preuve dans une procédure ultérieure.

On Wednesday (ironically, the day that we celebrated the International Declaration of the Rights of Children), Jed was playing chase with his friends and ran through one door of the basement and out the other right into the hands of the maintenance man who had told them not to play in that area.  He proceeded to shake Jed, chop the side of his neck, slap his face, and knock pretty hard on the top of his head with his fist in a is-anybody-home gesture.

Because Jed was behind the building, I had no idea that any of this was happening until one of Jed's friends yelled my name under the window.  I was in my pajamas so I quickly started getting dressed while yelling Jed's name out of my window.  Another friend came from the direction of the parking garage and told me that Jed was back there with the gardien.  I yelled louder, and Jed came around the corner, obviously upset. 

When Jed came upstairs, he cried and cried.  His two friends followed in about five minutes and told me the same version of events that Jed had reported.

Not long afterwards, the gardien arrived at the door and told me his side of things.  He said that the boys don't listen to adults and that they run wild, and that they damage property.  He said that he was fed up and that he finally got angry with them for the first time.

When I told him that I agreed that they should not do what he said that they had done but that I would not allow him to hit my child, things got a little more heated.  He yelled at me and said some pretty nasty things about Jed.  I remained fairly calm (as if talking to a crazy person) but held my ground.  I could tell that he was scared that he was going to get in trouble, and I think that I smelled alcohol on his breath. 

When he finally left our apartment about 45 minutes later, (I could NOT get rid of the man!) I fell apart.  I was devastated.  I talked to several friends to see what I should do, and they suggested that I file a "main courante," a type of report that does not exist in the US, I don't think.  Essentially, it is a declaration without consequence.  It is on file under this man's name in case it is ever needed at a future date---if he ever does this to another child or to Jed again, for example.  He will never see it if there is not another incident.

This might seem like a wimpy response, but it is one that we can live with.  I do not want to create an enemy and then be scared the rest of our time here.  We are just going to avoid this man and stay out of the basement from now on.  

I should add that Jed is perfectly fine both physically and emotionally.  He thought that today was a good day overall.  We had lunch with our friends Dominique and Néo; he went to fencing practice; he made a paper lantern and launched it after dark; and he had cotton candy for the first time ever.  He also got to talk to Mrs. Payne's second grade class via Skype.  To him, that makes five good things and one bad thing, and that equals a good day!  I like his happiness math.

This is the small cotton candy!


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