Public school is supposed to be a place where children feel safe. There has been a lot of focus on school shootings lately and, while they are tragic crimes, there is a much bigger epidemic than gun crime in our schools. Take a look at the news. Every day at least a few schools are in the news for sexual assault against young children. . . literally. Does anyone else get as mad as I do that this is happening on a daily basis? Does anyone else feel that it’s long past time that we become vocal, march into our schools, and demand they tell us what steps they are doing to protect our children? If you’re not at that point, you should be. It’s well known that the vast majority of sex crimes against children never get reported. There are an estimated over 40 million survivors of child sex abuse in the US alone. That’s more than the entire state of California, our most populated sate. Or, we could pack NYC at its 8.337 million capacity almost 5 times. Since that’s the case, how much sexual abuse is actually going on in the schools? Brian Palmer may be spot on when he says, “Probably millions.”
Let me add another depressing fact. The majority of teachers will never report suspected abuse, and they are even less likely to report it if a colleague is suspected of abusing a child. To further complicate the issue, several states have unclear laws describing who mandated reporters are and what the process should be for reporting suspected abuse. Here is a clip of Rep. George Miller, CA discussing his surprise at this:
No offense to Mr. Miller, but these are the kind of uninformed people running our country. It is their job to stay informed and to do something to make reporting easier. And let me make something clear to my readers: you don’t have to be a mandated reporter to report a crime! Anyone can (and should) report suspected crimes against children. Which leads me to my next story.
A New York prosecutor who recently put a gym teacher in prison for sexually assaulting an 8 year old boy “was stunned by the lack of cooperation he got from the Matthew LoMaglio’s colleagues, 22 of whom wrote letters to the judge supporting him.”1 It gets worse. The assistant principal, Susan Hasenaur-Curtis, had the boy and his mother in her office as the mother explained the fear her son was living in. Susan Hasenaur-Curtis did not report it to Children Protective Services as is required, because she felt the allegations were not credible. This happened in 2006. It wasn’t until 2012 that this boy had the courage to write a letter to his older brother describing the sexual assault. Though he wrote the letter, he kept it hidden in his bedroom where his younger brother found it and gave it to their parents. LoMaglio, like many pedophiles do, maintained his innocence throughout the trial until he finally confessed to a counselor upon sentencing. By forcing it to go to trial, this boy (now 15) had to testify in court while LoMaglio had his posse of 22 supporters on his side. At one point in the investigation, the prosecutor found out there was talk among teachers at Rochester School 19 that went like this: “Are you for the teacher or the student?”
According to statistics, it is very unlikely that this boy was LoMaglio’s only victim. Not by a long shot. I tell you this story because it happens all the time. Ask any prosecutor of sex crimes against children. They will all tell you similar stories of support for the perpetrator, not the victim. My question is, “Would you pull your kid from school if this happened?” My answer is an unequivocal YES! Not only would I pull my kid from a slimy school like Rochester 19, I’d pay for a lengthy article in my local newspaper to let the world know that they are protecting the name of the abusers, not the victims. I would publish the 22 teachers’ names in the newspaper who wrote letters of support for the man who robbed the innocence of an 8 year old. I would demand that they resign. I would let everyone know that assistant principal Susan Hasenaur-Curtis has 0 interest in protecting your kids. She had an opportunity to report a crime and chose not to do it, even though the law requires it. I would ask for her resignation, demand an apology, and ask that she have nothing to do with any organization where children need to be protected.
This story is personal to me. I was asked by my dad to write a letter of support in order for him to get a reduced sentence. I could not. I would not. To do so would have been the hugest slap in the face to every child whose innocence was taken away by that man. I love my dad and still communicate with him, but support he will not find.
I’m a firm believer that silence is another way to support the abusers. By the public remaining silent and not demanding answers from these schools, we are allowing these crud ball teachers, principals, and super intendants to keep doing this without consequence. If you have children in school, go there this week and ask to have a printed copy of their child protection plan. If they give you a hard time or tell you that you can’t see it, go to your local news and let the public know about it. My wife was a teacher in the public schools and I know that teachers are not well informed about policies and reporting procedures. Pennsylvania is getting better because of the recent passing of Act 126. But we are light years ahead of other states in this area, and that’s not saying much. Find out what policies and plans are in place at you kids’ schools. Demand answers and don’t tolerate schools who protect the guilty.
“I broke the fangs of the unrighteous and made him drop his prey from his teeth” (Job 29:17 ESV)