In Part 1 – THE PROMISE , we exposed all the false promises and assurances to protect out children from sexual abuse in the San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) schools made by Supt. Cindy Marten,
In Part 2 – THE BETRAYAL, we answer one simple question:
Could the sex abuse of children in SDUSD schools have been prevented?
The simple answer?
YES…or at least minimized.
Then how so?
Multiple times SDUSD Supt. Cindy Marten was presented with Sex Abuse Prevention materials/training matrices and decided to do nothing!
1.) Christine Pinkham, a SDUSD parent, and I presented Cindy Marten and Bill Freeman, then San Diego Educators’ Union President, with Diane Cranley’s matrices on how to implement child sex abuse prevention practices for youth-serving organizations in the fall of 2013. This was a private meeting with 3 parents, the superintendent and the teachers’ union president. The only topic we discussed was school-based child abuse including child to child predation. The union president basically held that there are no abusive teachers in schools. Marten received the printouts and promised to look over them.
2.) Cindy Marten attended (partially) a TAALK (Talk About Abuse to Liberate Kids) training at Up for Ed offices on MLK Jr Day 2014. I hosted this child sexual abuse prevention training for parents and teachers to attend. In attendance were two parents of two separate district sex abuse victims a spouse of a district employee who perpetrated against students, child advocates, a social worker and teachers. The attendees represent those who have been brought face to face in a personal way with the child sexual abuse pandemic and who are readily looking for answers.
3.) At the previous Multiagency meeting Summer Stephan, Chief Deputy District Attorney to Bonnie Dumanis, had given the “thumbs up” to “8 Ways to Create Their Fate: Protecting the Sexual Innocence of Children in Youth-Serving Organizations“ having previewed the preprint version of the book for me as a favor. When Chief Deputy District Attorney indicated that this was PREVENTION training to be differentiated from mandated reporter training Marten asked SDUSD PD Chief Littlejohn to arrange a meeting with Diane Cranley and for me to facilitate that meeting. I introduced Littlejohn and Cranley. They met on February 19, 2015 and Cranley explained the importance of knowing the predictable signs of sexual abuse and grooming behaviors to Littlejohn as well as how to roll out a district wide prevention training model.
4.) Diane Cranley was then invited to formally present an overview of “8 Ways“ to the Superintendent’s Multiagency Group on Child Abuse on April 23, 2015. Present were CPS, DA, CA, City Police and School Police representatives as well as Superintendent Marten, district staff and child advocates. Marten purchased a copy of “8 Ways“ and left the meeting with the answers to prevent child sexual assault in her possession! She literally had the answers in hand and yet, failed to implement.
In spite of their feigned interest and multiple requests from parents that Marten adopt prevention training for ALL DISTRICT STAFF she failed to do so.
Superintendent Marten chose cover up over prevention and children suffered…AND CONTINUE TO SUFFER…as a result
San Diego Unified could have been a leading district not only in California, but in the nation, by actively providing needed answers and solutions to child on child sexual predation occurring in schools. Multiple opportunities to adopt and implement a prevention program were presented and rejected.
The longer the district holds onto the status quo of silencing and shaming victims, whistleblowers and mandated reporters the more court cases will pile up and the longer students will remain unnecessarily at risk. Every parent of a victim that I have had contact with that chose litigation only chose that road when all else failed with the district in addressing abuse. I don’t know of one family who sought damages who did so as a first line of action. All did so when it became very clear that the district was steeped in denial and unwilling to take steps to rectify known risks.
Literally the first step needed to stop sexual predation in SDUSD is for leadership; Marten and the board, to ADMIT it is a problem. Once the top echelons of an organization acknowledge the existence of a problem; solutions can come forward and be acted upon.
For parents reading this who think that these crimes will be avoided, please remember the statistic that 9.6% of students are molested at school. This is not an issue to ignore. It isn’t going away and it is best dealt with honestly. Parents must educate themselves and their children so that there is some degree of protection since the district is lagging in prevention training and awareness.
Two basic things you can teach and reiterate to children of all ages is body awareness and body safety.
Pitch your talk to the age of your child and provide details and examples as befits their developmental stage with the consistent tenant being that their body is theirs alone and no one is to touch it in any manner that causes them discomfort. The news is replete with examples of predation cases that parents can and should share with their children. A few end positively with early intervention. Those typically end positively due to a vigilant and aware parent noticing early signs of grooming and or abuse.
The youngest children can be taught the stoplight metaphor of safe people, people to be wary or cautious of and completely unsafe people to avoid. Give your child concrete examples of each category and open up the discussion for your child to identify the green, yellow and red people in their life.
More information can be found at www.taalk.org.
COMING UP NEXT…
Sign the “RECALL SAN DIEGO UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT TRUSTEE MARNE FOSTER” Petition!
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