Children. It is our job to love them, teach them, guide them and protect them. However, every day the news is filled with stories of their innocence being violated by someone who was placed in the highest roles of trust. And all too often, we discover that the perpetrator has a history of similar offenses. This epidemic hurts everyone in our system...good teachers, parents and most of all, children.
What is the problem?
Every system is perfectly designed to get the results it gets.
-W. Edwards Deming
The truth is, the problem is systemic. For too many years too many people have looked the other way. We don't want to ruin someone's career or face a long and messy lawsuit. We want to believe that people will change...that it had to be a mistake. So parents simply remove the child from a class. A principle tells families not to "make waves." A licensing board returns a suspended license as long as the perpetrator agrees to take a class and see a counselor. But what feels like an act of compassion towards an adult, is really nothing more than a blatant disregard for the safety of our children, and casts a shadow of suspicion over all teachers.
Such situations hurt everyone in our system.
- The obvious victims are our children. Too often, admitted, and even convicted offenders get pushed from district to district while everyone looks the other way. The practice is known as "Passing the Trash" and for too long, everyone has been content to push these "Mobile Molesters" onto someone else...someone else's schools...someone else's children. But each child that experiences such a breach of trust will deal with a lifetime of suffering...suffering that continues long after the abuse has ended.
- These situations hurt parents as we struggle to know who we can trust. With every report, a proverbial question mark appears in the back of our minds when we think about our children's' teachers and wonder, "Is my child safe in school?"
- And last, but certainly not least, are the wonderful school teachers that sacrifice so much to give our children a truly valuable education...who spend hours grading homework on the weekend...who stay late to help a child...and who now have to live with a growing wave of suspicion and criticism from a frustrated society.
What's the solution?
Good Fences make good neighbors.
- Robert Frost
Have you ever heard the phrase, "Good fences make good neighbors"? It means that when we all respect some basic boundaries, we can foster healthy, satisfying relationships. The only way to restore trust throughout our educational system is to create safe boundaries (or fences) in our school system that are understood by all and strictly enforced. And we must all admit that those boundaries must be further away from the "cliff" than they currently are. These fences will be the safeguard that help protect our teachers from wrongful accusations, and our children from being placed in a compromising situation.
Concerning those who have admitted to, or been convicted of any abuse of a child, it is time we stand up for our children and demand a zero tolerance policy throughout the states in our educational system. We must ensure that these predators never have the opportunity to teach in our schools again. EVER again. We will no longer offer up our children as guinea pigs in the experiment of a predator's recovery.
What is the mission of A Most Sacred Trust?
Our goal at A Most Sacred Trust is to restore trust in our school system by educating children, parents, teachers, administrators and legislators about the realities of sexual abuse in our schools and how we can protect both children, and the adults who educate them, by establishing a safer system for all.
Please join us in standing up to protect and defend our Most Sacred Trust.