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10 Steps You Can Take Now To Assure Your Child’s Safety at School

from "Protecting The Gift: Keeping Children and Teenagers Safe (and Parents Sane)"

by Gavin De Becker

By Katarina T. Conrad

My son's 7th grade class

  1. Ask to review the School’s, Policy Manual. Most manuals are written and influenced by lawyers, thus protecting the school. Rarely they are written by educators or child-safety advocates. Noticed at what page child’s safety is mentioned.

  2. Are there policies addressing violence, weapons, drug use, sexual abuse, child-on-child sexual abuse, unauthorized visitors?

  3. Are background investigations performed on all staff?

  4. Does the screening process apply to all employees (teachers, coaches, janitors, lunchroom staff, security personnel, part-time employers, volunteers, bus drivers, etc.)?

  5. Can my child call me at any time?

  6. How does the school address special situations (custody disputes, child kidnapping concerns, etc.)?

  7. Are acts of violence or criminality at the school documented? Are statistics maintained?*

  8. Are the teachers formally notified when a child with a history of serious misconduct is enrolled at the school?

  9. Will I be informed of teacher misconduct that might have an impact on the safety or well-being of my child?

*Federal Law requires that colleges maintain campus crime statistics and make them available upon a request. There is no similar law requiring grammar schools or high school to keep such statistics, but there ought to be (particularly given the fact that more students carry guns in high schools than in colleges).

Here are some eye-opening statistics on CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE/VIOLENCE (for more, see the link). Which one shocked you the most?

  1. In eight out of 10 cases of rape, the victim knew the person who sexually assaulted them (l).

  2. One in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused before they turn 18 years old (f)

  3. 34% of people who sexually abuse a child are family members (n)

  4. 12.3% of women were age 10 or younger at the time of their first rape/victimization, and 30% of women were between the ages of 11 and 17 (a)

  5. Only 12% of child sexual abuse is reported to the authorities (g).

  6. More than one-third of women who report being raped before age 18 also experience rape as an adult (a)

  7. 96% of people who sexually abuse children are male, and 76.8% of people who sexually abuse children are adults (n)

  8. 325,000 children are at risk of becoming victims of commercial child sexual exploitation each year (m)

  9. The average age at which girls first become victims of sexual trafficking is 12 to 14 years old, and the average age for boys is 11 to 13 years old (m)

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