According to our own government stats: 9.6% of students will be molested AT SCHOOL. Perhaps more sobering is the following statistic: Only 11% of educators say they would report a sexual relationship between an adult and a student! (U.S. Department of Education, Policy and Program Studies Service, Educator Sexual Misconduct: A Synthesis of Existing Literature, 2004)
So, translate the statistic to SDUSD’s numbers. If 9.6% of all students are molested at school, based on that statistic 13,750 of SDUSD’s 132,000 students will be sexually abused while AT SCHOOL.
Child Sexual Assault at School is Preventable!
170 sex offenses in city schools in latest data:
Source-SDUSD Police Department
What are we to do with information like that? How does a parent absorb and respond to such a horrible truth? Most parents will be momentarily shocked not knowing how to proceed, hoping that their children will not be part of that statistic. Parents are human and humans have three basic responses to danger: fight, flight or freeze.
Freezing is not an option that will keep kids safe.
What if there was a better path for parents to actually protect their kids? What if the answers to PREVENTION of child sexual assault were available? What if school staff, parents and community members could change that horrible statistic?
Good news! The answers are readily available to parents, superintendents, HR directors, Union Presidents, teachers, administrators, law makers, law enforcement, and concerned community members.
They can all be found at www.taalk.org (Talk About Abuse to Liberate Kids) and in Diane Cranley’s book entitled, 8 Ways to Create Their Fate: Protecting the Sexual Innocence of Children in Youth Serving Organizations. Imagine 8 Ways as the child equivalent of sexual harassment prevention training for adults.
The free online training helped one SDUSD parent recognize and STOP the sexual grooming process of a district custodian with her twin fifth grade girls at Torrey Pines Elementary school. (10 News San Diego: Torrey Pines Elementary School Employee Removed from School Amid ‘Cookie Tasting’ Allegations)
The custodian had allegedly implemented a cookie feeding game that became a ritual and broke appropriate boundaries any employee should keep when working with kids. The child witnesses thought the custodian was actually kissing the girls because he got his face so close to the girls. The custodian also gave a gift and stated that because one of the children had accepted the gift they were now going “steady”. These are examples of broken boundaries NO parent would approve of.
8 Ways to Create Their Fate: Protecting the Sexual Innocence of Children in Youth Serving Organizations provides school districts with the tools to address grooming behaviors BEFORE the actual molestation occurs. Sadly in the aforementioned case, while the girls were saved from actual molest due to the mom interrupting the grooming process, the custodian remains employed at the district. The reason the district can’t fire him is that there is no policy that covers immoral/inappropriate behaviors that fall shy of being prosecutable under the Annoy and Molest law.
SDUSD needs to write policy that sets up appropriate boundaries between adults and children. That way when an adult “crosses a line” as in the case of the cookie custodian, the district has the authority to impose consequences on the employee for not meeting policy expectations.
Sadly, SDUSD has not been open to effective prevention training of staff nor to writing protective policies for employee behavior. It is going to take parents demanding prevention training of ALL staff for this to become a reality.
As a parent you have the right to be a part of the development of an up to date School Site Safety Plan as required by the California Department of Education. Ask your principal for your SSP and ask to be a part of updating it. SSPs are to include input from community and parents regarding known safety issues facing the school. Child sexual predation is a known risk (there are MANY lawsuits against the district that attest to this fact.) As a parent you can bring prevention training to your school. Who possibly could be against such training?
All schools are at risk of child sexual predation and every school should have 8 Ways training to respond to that risk.
Parents may contact me to set up prevention training at their schools and in their communities. Contact me through District Deeds.