Keeping Sexual Predators Out of Classrooms
It’s depressingly easy to find news of educators’ sexually abusing their students. The headlines are full of it. Yet it’s difficult to find instances where the threat of punishment fits the crime. Even though research suggests that as many as 10 percent of students may experience some form of contact or noncontact abuse before they graduate from high school, the country’s education system seems to have institutionalized a blind-eye approach to the problem.
School personnel who may suspect misconduct feel powerless to report their friends and colleagues. Administrators handle cases internally to avoid lawsuits and bad publicity. And lawmakers evade responsibility for crafting tough legislation or a cohesive national policy, in part because of fears that they will inadvertently damage the reputations of all teachers. Moreover, because educator sexual abuse is such an unconscionable act, there is a lingering tendency to deny that it even exists.
In recent years, some states have updated their policies aimed at protecting students from abuse. But even in these instances, official responses often lack transparency, and systems for documenting offenders and prevalence rates are flawed. At times, policies are...
This article is available to subscribers only.
To keep reading this article and more, subscribe now or start a 2-week FREE trial.
Access selected articles, e-newsletters and more!
- Director of School Support
- The Achievement Network, Multiple Locations
- Elementary Principal
- Forest Grove School District, Forest Grove, OR
- K-12 Teachers
- The International Educator, Multiple Locations
- Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction
- Lake Forest School District 67 & 115, Lake Forest, IL
- Perspectives Charter Schools, Chicago, IL