(Violaine Huisman’s article appeared in the Guardian, 6/16.)
Pascale, my daughter’s school director, first told me about Lisette Bamenga’s case one morning during pre-school drop-off in Brooklyn. Lisette was Pascale’s own daughter’s third-grade teacher at Public School 58, and she was facing lifetime imprisonment for killing her two children, who were four months and four years old, in July 2012.
Many parents of Lisette’s students, Pascale among them, testified in her favor and helped raise money for her defense. Pascale told me about the trial, and the progress she and her fellow supporters made in getting Lisette’s undiagnosed postpartum psychosis acknowledged in the sentencing process. Pascale insisted on telling me, I thought, until I realized I was one of the few able to listen, and definitely the only mom to take interest in the case as I regularly asked for updates. After a while I had to tell Pascale I could have been Lisette’s child.