New York (OPENPRESS) January 9, 2010 — Child abuse has reached epidemic proportions and child sexual abuse in schools throughout the nation has become an alarmingly frequent occurrence. The cases that are surfacing almost daily serve as a wake-up call to everyone in America to protect their children.
Child sexual abuse in schools is happening all over the country. Although the vast majority of educators and other school employees are not child abusers, the stories continue to unfold throughout the nation. Just this past week, there were two incidents in New York City where a principal and former teacher have been accused of improper sexual behavior
Any sexual contact between teacher and student is a crime. Sexual abuse is a child becoming a sexual partner for an adult. Anyone under the age of 18 who is used by an adult for sexual gratification is being Sexually Abused whether or not the child consents.
Children are taught to respect and honor parental authority figures such as teachers, guidance counselors, and principals and not to question their actions. People trust schools to protect their most vulnerable … yet children are being sexually molested by the very people who are supposed to protect them. Most abusers remain undetected and free to continue their abuse of power and violation of professional ethics.
Ross Ellis, Chief Executive Officer of Love Our Children USA said “To believe it can’t happen to us and our children – that no one we know would ever abuse our kids, and certainly not someone entrusted with their care or well-being — is to live in denial. Sexual abusers tend to choose occupations that put them in close contact with children. They can be found in every profession. They are heterosexual and homosexual — they don’t discriminate.”
What can be done?
Covering up abuse in schools sends a message to the abuser that it is acceptable behavior. People must report the abuser and get help for the children. School boards must send a message that they care and accept zero tolerance.
People must insist for and demand:
• Laws that mandate fingerprinting teachers and other school employees and conduct FBI checks on their criminal history
• Educate about child abuse prevention education beginning at the school board level … establishing strong, clear policies that warn teachers of inappropriate conduct, such as putting themselves in vulnerable positions where they are alone with students.
• Hold mandatory child abuse prevention training and educational seminars for all staff including teachers, bus drivers, cooks, etc. on a monthly basis. Training sessions can help educators understand their district’s policy, the warning signs of possible sexual abuse, and the procedures for reporting abuse when they see it.
• School leaders must make it clear to all staff that the district is serious about investigating any hint of child sexual abuse.
• District policies must stress all employees are mandated to report any suspicion of sexual misconduct and make clear that they will be disciplined if they fail to do so
• Stricter reference and background checks. Meticulously screening of new hires. School administrators must do criminal background checks on applicants and call their former employers and associates, including some who may not be listed on their resumes. Be leery of gaps and frequent changes in an applicant’s job history.
• Remove the accused teacher from contact with children, usually with a suspension, during the investigation
• Immediately notify police or community social service authorities.
• Train students about inappropriate behavior by adults and where to report it if they ever see it occur
• Organize a team of supervised peer counselors where students have a place to go
Ellis said “We must write to our legislators and demand Zero Tolerance.”
Contact your politicians and ask for stronger laws that protects children and for a stronger statute on mandated reporting of child abuse. All responsible citizens with knowledge of child abuse, which is a crime, should be required to report it, even if it’s only suspected. Write letters, e-mail, make phone calls … take action.
It’s time for America to wake-up. Knowledge is power. Learn all you can about child abuse. Educate yourself, your children, your family, your friends, neighbors — everyone you know. Please keep children safe.
Read Ellis’ article about two alleged sexual predator New York educators http://www.examiner.com/x-29163-NY-Parenting-Issues-Examiner~y2010m1d8-Two-New-Yorkers–a-principal-and-former-teacher-face-allegations-of-being-sexual-perverts
More information about bullying and how to help your children and students can be found at www.loveourchildrenusa.org
About Love Our Children USA
Love Our Children USA is the national nonprofit leader that honors, respects and protects children. Its mission is to break the cycle of violence against children. Love Our Children USA has become ‘the go-to’ prevention organization for all forms of violence and neglect against children in the U.S. Working to eliminate behaviors that keep children from reaching their potential, it redefines parenting and creates kid success by promoting prevention strategies and positive changes in parenting and family attitudes and behaviors through public education. Empowering and supporting children, teens, parents and families through information, resources, advocacy, and online youth mentoring. Its message is positive …one of prevention, empowerment and hope. Since 1999, Love Our Children USA has paved the way in the prevention of violence and neglect against children … keeping children safe and strengthening families.
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By the time you finish reading this, 15 children will have been abused; In the next five minutes, 30 more; Within the next hour, 360 more; And by tonight, close to 8,000+ children will have suffered from abuse, 5 of which will die. Child abuse has increased 134% since 1980 and is now considered a worldwide epidemic. The high jump in child abuse deaths and the shocking increase in statistics highlights the frightening lack of public knowledge.
Educate Yourself -- Learn the Facts
It May Just Save a Child's Life!!