The problem of child sex abuse in school settings, even in elementary school, is very real and continues to be highlighted. Lately, there has been a slew of media headlines from around the country.
Just this week, a school principal of an elementary school in California committed suicide while being investigated for potentially sexually abusing students. He was married with children.
Related: Perpetuating Teacher-Student Sex Abuse in Schools
The investigation began after a school employee reported seeing a young student (female 5th grader) in the principal’s office with the lights off. Law enforcement officers then interviewed other students and discovered a similar pattern of girls being summoned to the principal’s office on multiple occasions. In at least one case, one of the students was given gifts.
In addition, law enforcement officers discovered that the hard drive from the principal’s school computer was missing. This led to obtaining a search warrant to search the principal’s home. When officers attempted to execute the warrant, they discovered the principal had shot himself.
Teaching Students About Sex Abuse
One of the ways to prevent sex abuse is to teach children about what sex abuse is, how to recognize it and what they can do about it. This is especially important for even young children, such as those in elementary school.
Related: Three Common Sex Abuse Claims Against School/Youth Organizations
Young children often do not recognize inappropriate contact with adults who are not their family members, such as sitting in an adult’s lap, hugging, kissing, etc. Predators often take advantage of this general lack of knowledge and begin with such inappropriate contact. Over time, a predator literally teaches a young child that sexual behavior is appropriate. That’s why it is so important to develop education programs for young children, even as young as those in pre-school. Children must learn the difference between appropriate behavior and inappropriate behavior. In addition, it’s important for children to learn the bounds of appropriate behavior in different contexts, i.e., with other students, with other adults, alone, behind closed doors, in public, etc.
More: School Sex Abuse Claims in New Jersey (Part 1) – NJ’s Child Sex Abuse Act & the Statute of Limitations
Young Students Who are Victims of Sex Abuse Often Need Counseling
If your child was the victim of sex abuse, your child may need counseling, and the more extensive the abuse, the more intensive the treatment. You can visit the American Psychological Association’s website to find a therapist who treats victims of child abuse and child sex abuse.
Sex Abuse Lawyer & Former Prosecutor
Brian Kent is a former sex crimes unit prosecutor who is passionate about pursuing justice for victims of sex abuse including child sex abuse victims. Please call our office for a free case evaluation. Click To Call
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