|Silence is Not Golden|
|Season 6, episode 17|
|Air date||February 16, 1993|
|Previous||The Heartbreak Kid|
|Next||Please Don't Touch the Dinosaur|
Stephanie is paired up with an irritating classmate for a project. While they interview each other, Stephanie discovers his secret: he is being abused by his father.
Charles, a particularly annoying classmate, is paired up with Stephanie for a writing assignment for "finding the best in people," after teasing each other in class. After school, Charles goes to her house.
Michelle interrupts their interview and tells Stephanie that she forgot to take the garbage out, and that Danny will deal with her later. Charles mistakes the situation for abuse, which forces him to admit to Stephanie that his father beats him up all the time. He feels helpless because, like Stephanie, he does not have a mother because she died. Charles makes Stephanie promise not to tell anyone about the abuse.
When Stephanie goes to school, the teacher tells her that Charles will not be coming to school for a week because he "fell down the stairs". Even though Stephanie knows what really happened, she reluctantly decides to keep it a secret.
Later, Michelle becomes angry at Danny for punishing her because she ran up the phone bill by calling the "Funny Buddy" riddle line (a 900 number) several times, which costs $2.00 a minute – and she knew that she was supposed to get permission first. But, when she tells Stephanie that their dad is being mean, Stephanie angrily tells her that she is lucky to have a father who does not hit her. This makes Jesse wonder where Stephanie's behavior is coming from. She breaks her promise of silence and tells what Charles told her. Jesse then calls the police to report the abuse.
When Stephanie comes home from school the next week, she tells him worriedly that Charles still did not come back to school. Jesse tells her that Charles has been placed in a foster home, while his father is being dealt with. Stephanie angrily regrets that she told Jesse about the abuse in the first place. Jesse tells Stephanie that even though she feels pretty lousy about the situation, she did the right thing by telling him about it. He explains that Charles was not safe in his own home, but now he and his father will get the help they really need, and thanks to her, Charles' father can't hurt him tonight. Jesse wonders how anyone could hurt their own child. The situation makes Stephanie appreciate Danny more than she already does.
At the same time, Steve Hale and Jesse, since they are both reading Catcher in the Rye for class, decide to each read one-half of the book and fill each other in on what happened. After trying to do this and being clueless, they decide to read the whole book.
Stephanie: My dad's gonna flip out on me.
Charles: Well, you know what helps sometimes? Try thinking of a funny movie, like "Home Alone" or "Roger Rabbit".
Charles: I don't care if you swear on your mother's life.
Stephanie: My mother's not alive.
Charles: Oh. I'm sorry. Mine's not alive, either.
Stephanie: I'm sorry.
Charles: Look, the truth is, my dad does hit me sometimes. But it's my own fault for ticking him off. Boy, did he clobber me last week.
Stephanie: You mean that day you came in and said you ran into a door?
Charles: Yeah. A door named "Dad".
Stephanie: Why did they have to take him out of his house?
Jesse: They had to. He wasn't safe there.
Stephanie: What's gonna happen to Charles?
Jesse: Well, Charles and his father need help, and now they're gonna get it.
Jesse: I know how hard this has been for you. But the bottom line is, thanks to you Charles' father can't hurt him tonight.
Stephanie: What made his father so mean?
Jesse: I don't know. I look at you girls and I look at Nicky and Alex. How could anyone hurt their child?