12 Important Points to Remember to Protect School Children from Abuse
Too often, schools do not do as much to protect school children from abuse as they should. Know these 12 points to help protect your child or other children in your schools.
- Although background checks are important, a school district cannot assume that a record of abusive behavior toward children will have been maintained in a personnel file or reported to a prospective employer when an employee changes jobs.
- The real problems of student abuse by teachers and staff members begin when school districts ignore clear warning signs of trouble – and there are almost always clear warning signs.
- You cannot count on the children who are being abused to report what is happening to them.
- While children will often not report that they are being abused, if they do, assume the reports are accurate until proven otherwise.
- School officials are usually not skilled investigators. Involve the police and child protective service agencies if abuse is suspected. It is not only prudent, it is the law.
- Teachers usually will not take the initiative to report any borderline inappropriate behavior of other teachers but usually will tell the truth when questioned.
- Investigate all rumors of child abuse by staff members or other students. Rumors are usually the first sign of real trouble.
- The most vulnerable students are those with personal and family issues – and predators can spot those students from a mile away.
- The idea that the only girls can be victims of sexual abuse is just plain wrong. Boys get victimized by teachers and are just as emotionally damaged as the girls.
- A school district either cultivates an atmosphere of protecting children or protecting itself. You cannot have both.
- Schools have an obligation to protect students from abuse by other students also – if they know about it. Therefore, if this is going on with your child or another child that you know of, you must be sure that school officials know about it too.
- The law is very forgiving of schools and school administrators in these situations because they are governmental agencies and employees who are entitled to legal immunity from ordinary negligence, sometimes even from gross negligence. Therefore, proving these cases and obtaining a fair result requires that you work with lawyers who know how to overcome the legal barriers involved.