Basic Training Needed To Protect Students From Sexual Abuse By Staff

Police arrest a Colorado school teacher and charge him with sexually assaulting a child. Police said they became aware of allegations against the 35-year-old teacher and a student, in late July.

The alleged perpetrator has had no contact with any students at the school since allegations were made against him, and an investigation is ongoing. He had worked at the school since 2013. Kieran Nicholson "Aurora teacher arrested on suspicion of sexual assault on a student" (Aug. 07, 2018).

Commentary and Checklist

According to one organization, SESAME, whose goal is to prevent abuse by educators and other school employees in the U.S., 500 educators were arrested nationwide for sexual abuse in 2015 alone. In addition, of children in 8th through 11th grades, approximately 3.5 million students (nearly seven percent) surveyed reported having had physical sexual contact from an adult (most often a teacher or coach). The type of physical contact ranged from unwanted touching of their bodies to sexual intercourse.

As for other types of sexual misconduct, such as being shown pornography or being subjected to sexually explicit language or exhibitionism, the statistic increased to around 4.5 million.

Too often, other teachers “thought there might be something going on,” but they were afraid that if they reported a coworker. They did not want to be responsible for ruining someone else’s reputation.

What should schools, administrators, teachers, other school employees, and volunteers do to prevent child sexual abuse by school employees?

  • Create a sexual abuse policy that not only prohibits perpetrating sexual abuse, but also prohibits withholding information related to known or suspected sexual abuse against any child;
  • Train all new employees and volunteers on the policy and require them to attend additional training annually;
  • Cover how to report suspected or known child abuse or other wrongdoings involving students during the training;
  • Include teachers, administrators, and adults who volunteer for the school district in the training;
  • Make sure adults understand that failing to report suspected child abuse immediately to law enforcement is a crime, and they could face harsh penalties if they do not promptly report their suspicions;
  • Make sure they understand they do not have to be correct; all that is required is a good faith report of suspicions, and law enforcement will investigate and determine the facts.
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