A report commissioned by the U.S. Department of Education includes 15 recommendations for helping to eliminate or reduce sexual misconduct by educators against students. Among them is that educators, parents, and students be aware of the following information:
- Any employee, as well as volunteers, might molest.
- Educator sexual predators are often well-liked and considered excellent teachers.
- Special education students or other vulnerable students are often targets of sexual predators.
- Adults who regularly have access to students before or after school or in private situations (coaches, music teachers, and others) are more likely to sexually abuse students than those who don’t.
- Physical signs of sexual abuse include difficulty walking or sitting, torn or bloodstained clothing, venereal disease, pregnancy, and changes in weight.
- Behavior indicators in students might include age-inappropriate sexual behavior, late arrivals to class, changes in personality, and increased time at school with one adult.
- Rumors are an important source of information on educator sexual misconduct.
- Behaviors of adults who molest include close personal relationships with students, time alone with students, time before or after school with students, time in private spaces with students, flirtatious behavior with students, and off-color remarks in class.
SOURCE: “Educator Sexual Misconduct: A Synthesis of Existing Literature,” prepared for the U.S. Department of Education by Charol Shakeshaft
A version of this article appeared in the July 14, 2004 edition of Education Week as Words of Warning