By Tom Quiner
Our kids are still getting raped and abused.
Lives are being shattered, seemingly on a daily basis, by authority figures our kids have been conditioned to trust.
A study quantified the carnage: ten percent of our kids that come in contact with this respected institution have been victims of sexual misconduct, rape, or sexual assault. Ten percent! Shouldn’t something be done?
It’s not like we don’t know it’s going on. One report identified 2500 cases of abuse in just five years. The adult abusers were punished for actions from bizarre to sadistic, and that’s only the ones that got caught. Much abuse goes unreported since children and teens feel ashamed if they report abuse.
Many abusers simply get passed on to another locale to abuse again, while maintaining their salary, benefits, and pension.
A case study of fifteen abuse cases from eleven states sheds some light on how the hierarchy protects the abusers, not the abused. Here are the quick findings:
• In all cases, abusers were hired or retained even though they had a history of sexual misconduct.
• In six of these cases, the abuser used their new position to abuse more children.
I am not talking about the Catholic Church’s abuse scandal, I am talking about the public school’s abuse scandal.
The Catholic Church addressed their abuse scandal head on. The overwhelming occurrence of abuse in the Catholic Church took place between 1965 and 1985. The Church took concrete steps to right the ship, including mandatory background checks and training programs for every paid worker and volunteer in every parish and diocese in the country.
I was heavily involved with Catholic youth for five years, and I had to undergo this training.
The Catholic approach has been effective. Abuse has dropped to a trickle, with an average of only 7 credible accusations made annually against 40,000 priests.
The same can’t be said of our public schools. Politics is blocking remedial action, and to be clear, Democratic politics are at work here.
The U.S. Department of Education commissioned a study on the subject in 2004. The author of the study, Charol Shakeshaft
, reported that “… the physical sexual abuse of students in [public] schools is likely more than 100 times the abuse by [Catholic] priests.”
Does that seem newsworthy to you?
Ms. Shakeshaft projected that some 4.5 million students had been the victim of:
• sexual harassment,
• sexual abuse.
Let us pause here for a minute. I am a big fan of teachers. I hold the profession in high regard. Not only have many of my family been involved in this honorable vocation, the public school teachers I personally encountered in my schooling years served me well.
It seems that lumping sexual harassment into a list with rape and sexual abuse is going to skew the results in this study. I do not mean to diminish the chilling effect sexual harassment can have on students; however, physical violation of a student’s body is an even worse offense.
Nonetheless, abuse has been alarmingly high in our public schools.
Three aspects of this scandal leap out.
First, where is the news coverage?
Media elites provided lavish coverage of the abuse scandal in the Catholic Church. Most, but not all, of the coverage was warranted. Most, but not all, of the coverage was objective. The abuse scandal in the Church WAS a legitimate news story. So why isn’t this one?
As William Donohue, CEO of the Catholic League, characterizes the news freeze:
“It has been painfully evident for a long time that most of the anger in elite quarters over priestly sexual abuse is contrived — these same people have no interest in doing something about kids being raped in the public schools.”
The Department of Ed’s study came out nine years ago. The media ignored it. Isn’t child abuse always bad? The MSM’s news freeze on the story suggests it is more acceptable if the group doing the abusing is an ally of liberal causes. The teachers union is; Catholic priests aren’t.
The second aspect of the scandal is worse: abusers in our schools are keeping their jobs. The liberal New York Times reported on this finding from Ms. Shakeshaft’s research back in 2002:
“Only 1 percent of the cases did superintendents follow up to ensure that molesting teachers did not continue teaching elsewhere. In 54 percent, superintendents accepted the teachers’ resignations or retirements. Of the 121 teachers removed this way, administrators knew for certain that 16 percent resumed teaching in other districts… Moving molesting teachers from school district to school district is a common phenomenon. And in only 1 percent of the cases do superintendents notify the new school district. The term “passing the trash” is the preferred jargon among educators”
In Maine, laws are on the book that keep the cases of teachers who abuse their students a secret.
In Hawaii, no abusing teachers were disciplined in a five year period, even though some had already been convicted of other sex crimes.
Finally, the most troublesome aspect of all is how difficult it is to pass laws to protect our kids from the abusers.
The U.S. Government Accountability Office studied the way schools look out for sexual offenders when hiring teachers and staff. They discovered there are no federal laws on the books that regulate the hiring of sex offenders in public schools. The laws in various states are a mixed bag.
For example, in some of the studies cited earlier, the GAO learned that some teachers caught abusing our kids were allowed to simply resign. In this way, they can truthfully state that they were never fired from a teaching position, increasing their odds of getting a new teaching job. Plus, it is cheaper for school districts to let bad teachers resign than fire them, since, according to one administrator, it can cost up to $100,000 to fire a teacher.
Republicans have attempted to pass federal laws to protect our kids from childhood abuse in our schools. For example, the House passed a common-sense bill that bars those convicted of a sexual offense or violent crime from getting a teaching job. The Democratically-controlled Senate won’t touch it because the bill is opposed by powerful teacher’s unions.
Nor will the media, except for Fox News.
In one piece of legislation offered by House Republicans, the teacher’s lobby successfully gutted the bill of its key provision which requires a district to check the registries of the states where teaching applicants formerly resided.
We know there’s a problem. The studies have been done. The data is on the books.
We know what works. The Catholic Church has given us the roadmap.
But politics and a media blackout is blocking action.
In the meantime, more kids are going to get hurt.