Letters to the WCP Editor – 11.15.11
Posted: Thursday, November 17, 2011 10:31 am
To the Editor,
NEA’s American Education Week spotlights the importance of providing every child in America with a quality public education from kindergarten through college, and the need for everyone to do his or her part in making public schools great. The Association calls upon America to provide students with quality public schools so that they can grow, prosper, and achieve in the 21st century.
At UTM, the student organization, Student Tennessee Education Association, would like to say thank you to all of you in the community who help make American public schools the best they can be for our students. To the teachers and administrators – thank you for the professional help and guidance you give directly to our students every day. To the support personnel in our schools – thank you for the behind-the-scenes work that you do to make our schools run smoothly and function the way they should. To the parents – thank you for supporting your students to achieve their goals and do well throughout their years of school. Finally, to the university faculty and staff – thank you for helping your students further their education and be better prepared for the real world.
“It takes a village to raise a child.” and it takes the community to make the education system a success for our children in America.
To the Editor,
In the Penn State situation, children could have been saved from sexual assault had the adults understood their responsibility in protecting children. More than just reporting the incident that was observed to authorities because the law says they must, persons also have to understand they have a moral obligation to do so. Predators spend time grooming and preparing children for victimization.
During this period of time, many persons could be part of observing that process. Acknowledging first that something is wrong in their observations is a first step in stopping this from happening. If you choose to ignore or minimize what you hear or see then reports are never made and abuse continues.
Often we caution children about strangers and staying away from someone they do not know. Coaches and teachers in teaching/mentoring roles are persons that children and parents look up to and think of them in a revered way. It is doubtful that parents and children would have identified the coach in question at Penn State as a stranger. Adults see coaches, etc. as extended family and hold them in high esteem and are proud they pay attention to their children.
Most importantly, we just need to make sure we understand it is our responsibility to protect our children, not their responsibility to protect themselves. One on one encounters are the most risky no matter whom they are with.
In Tennessee, every person who has a suspicion that a child is being harmed or there is a threat of harm has a responsibility to report that information to Department of Children’s Services, local law enforcement or the juvenile court in their community.
If you are suspicious of something that is happening between a child and an adult, then do report it. Call child protective services at 1-877-237-0004. You are not responsible for investigating and determining what happened. You are responsible for telling about it. Doing so can prevent innocent children from being abused.
Prevent Child Abuse Tennessee staff are trained as facilitators for the Stewards of Children Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Program and are available to come to your community and work with you to educate persons on what child sexual abuse is, its impact on children and how to report. Call us at (615) 383-0994 or 1-888-383-0994.
Carla Snodgrass, BSW MPA
Executive director, Prevent Child Abuse TN