The Need for Mandatory Predator Identification Training
Educator sexual abuse is a problem that could be alleviated with prevention training. Currently, the law requires school employees to receive child abuse training within the first six weeks of each school year. Educators may satisfy their training requirements at www.mandatedreporterca.com. However, the training portal fails to address the prevention of educator child sexual abuse by neglecting to provide training to identify the grooming of children.
Although the law is a good first step, much more needs to be done to prevent the type of child sexual abuse seen in both the Morgan Hill Unified School District and the Evergreen Unified School District.
The parents of the sexually abused children at Morgan Hill's Paradise Valley Elementary School wanted something more than just money for the harm caused to their children. They wanted to make sure that sexual abuse never happened to another child. Thus, they successfully demanded that as a condition of the financial settlement, the school district also train anyone with access to kids on the child molestation warning signs.
Research Shows Educator Sexual Abuse is a Major Problem
According to Professor Charol Shakeshaft, an internationally recognized researcher, 4.5 million students or nearly 1 out of every ten kids are subjected to educator sexual misconduct. The sexual misconduct ranges from inappropriate conduct to criminal sexual behavior. Shakeshaft says that most educators, parents, and students don’t know the warning signs and patterns of educator abusers.
Shakeshaft adds, “good policies and procedures, annual training, clarity about boundaries, parent awareness, and staff vigilance — these all work to minimize abuse. Knowing that other teachers and personnel will report inappropriate or questionable behavior also can inhibit an adult from inappropriate behavior with students. Unfortunately, only 11% of teachers say they would report abuse of a student by a fellow teacher.”
Shakeshaft says that schools can create an environment that discourages child sexual abusers. “Close supervision, a series of policies and regulations that reduce risk, and the commitment of all staff in a school to protect children — proactively and especially through reporting — can make it difficult for a fixated abuser to groom and abuse children,” states Shakeshaft.
The team of child sex abuse attorneys at Corsiglia McMahon & Allard believes that anyone with access to students must receive annual training to identify predatory grooming behavior. As such, the reporting of suspected behavior to Human Resources is also necessary to ensure the centralization of all information. And, at the start of each school year, parents must receive clear directions as to how to report their concerns.
The responsibility to comply with the law should lie with district superintendents.
Proposed Mandated Educator Sexual Abuse Prevention Training
- Mandatory annual training to identify and report predator grooming behavior is a requirement for anyone with access to students.
- Mandate that each school district centralize and archive all complaints.
- Require, at the beginning of each school year, that parents are provided with information about sex abuse grooming behavior. Clear directions as to how to report their concerns is part of the information.
- District superintendents will submit under penalty of perjury that this training has been provided; otherwise, it will negatively impact their credentials.
- Notify parents about the nature and extent of annual training.
We continue working hard to make this preventative training mandatory in our schools. Let us know if you have any ideas as well that will help prevent educator sexual abuse. You may contact by using the email form or by calling 408-289-1417.