Signs of Potential Educator Abuse: What You Should Know
Here is a list of things that students, educators, and parents should know to increase the possibilities for spotting a problem educator. However, education on these points is ONLY a beginning. It is imperative that any concern regarding the possibility of a teacher acting physically or sexually inappropriately with or toward students be reported to school administration and investigated.
Anyone who believes that “it can’t happen in our district” is both wrong and probably missing important signs that are already occurring.
- Educator sexual predators are often well-liked and considered excellent teachers. Any teacher (or other employees, including volunteers) might molest, no matter how popular.
- Special education students or other vulnerable students are often targets of sexual predators.
- Adults who have access to students before or after school or in private situations are more likely to sexually abuse students than those who don’t (coaches, music teachers, etc.).
- Physical signs of sexual abuse include difficulty walking or sitting, torn clothing, stained or bloodied underwear, pain or itching in the genital area, venereal disease, pregnancy, and changes in weight.
- Behavior indicators in students might include age-inappropriate sexual behavior or questions, late arrivals to class, changes in personality, a student who enjoyed school and now does not want to attend and increased time at school with one adult.
- Rumors are an important source of information on educator sexual misconduct. They cannot be ignored, and any school that fails to investigate is contributing to the problem.
- Terms to watch out for — and yes, we have heard each and every one of these in our cases — include:
“These are just rumors.”
“We have no real proof.”
“There is not just enough hard evidence.”
“It’s just the student’s word against the adult — it will never hold up.”
“Are you sure you want to put your child through this?”
- Suspicious behaviors of adults who molest often include:
Close personal relationships with students;
Exchange of personal phone numbers;
Exchange of private e mails or social media contacts;
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.
- Most cases of abuse occur after a period of “grooming” during which the predator works to gain the child’s trust, break down his/her defenses, and manipulate him/her into performing or permitting the desired sex act.
Knowing the signs of potential educator abuse can not only help your child, but other children who may be the victims of this terrible kind of abuse.