SUMMARY

  • According to an article in Phi Delta Kappan, sexual misconduct committed by educators and educational staff is nothing new. Yet while there is widespread awareness of the issue, there is little data available on its prevalence. The most recent relevant study in 2004 reported that 10 percent of all students (about 4.5 million) will be victims of sexual misconduct committed by employees of schools.
  • Preventing that abuse is not in anyone’s job description, but it should be a responsibility shared by everyone involved with the school, including teachers, coaches, school staff, administrators and school board members. Districts and schools should also mandate comprehensive background checks on all contractors, volunteers and third-party organizations and vendors.
  • The Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 implemented new requirements with regard to preventing sexual abuse in schools. Now, rather than “solving” the issue by sending predatory employees to other districts, if there is probable cause to believe that an educational staff member committed sexual misconduct, agencies can no longer assist that employee in finding a new job.

INSIGHT

The #MeToo movement, which began in late 2017, has had wide-reaching effects all across society, and has shined a light on the problems that exist in the United States with sexual harassment and assault. Unfortunately, this is a very real issue that exists in many schools across the country, and not just in your stereotypical office environments. In some cases, the very adults entrusted to care for children at these schools are the ones who commit this misconduct.

School districts should do everything they can to vet employees and volunteers who work directly with students to ensure all children are completely safe while attending school. At Flex Academies, we only work with instructors and vendors who pass rigorous background checks and are clearly qualified for the work they perform. We want our students to be able to enjoy these programs in a safe environment, and their parents to not have to worry about their safety.

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