Saturday, November 19, 2011
What's Wrong With Us?
I haven't posted for a few weeks. When I looked at my blog, I was surprised to see how long it actually had been since I posted anything. I haven't been absent from the online community, I've been reading the blogs I subscribe to, but I haven't been writing. I've had a few topics roaming around my head, but the issue I needed to write about, I couldn't bring myself to write. Over and over my thoughts have been drawn to the horrible events at Penn State. Jerry Sandusky, football defensive coordinator, is accused of raping young boys. That by itself is horrific, but the scandal has brought down many others who are charged with not taking any action to protect the children that Sandusky preyed upon. The abuse went on for years and those in power did nothing. They turned a blind eye and maintained the status quo...and more children were abused.
I would like to say that I'm surprised at how those around Sandusky ignored his perverted behavior for so many years, but I've become far too cynical in my old age. Every day, in every community, atrocities like those that happened at Penn State are going on. What is wrong with our society that we can't protect our children?
I know that I couldn't say that something like what has happened at Penn State would never happen in my community, because it has. It is not unusual to read in the court report in the local paper of another conviction of child molestation. But there are also those incidents that are never reported. And don't get me started about the fourteen and fifteen year old girls who get pregnant by older boyfriends and don't call it sexual abuse because they're "in love."
Oregon has a mandatory reporting law that requires educators to report abuse. There was a time when inappropriate behaviors were overlooked. When my daughter was in high school a coach suddenly left his teaching position with the school district for "family reasons." On Friday he was working and on Monday he was gone. Some time later when he came up in conversation, my daughter told me he was having a relationship with a student. It was never reported. He still holds a teaching license.
It was not an isolated incident, but in the fifteen years since my daughter was in high school, we've implemented some safeguards. Oregon now requires school officials to report investigations of inappropriate teacher behavior to the state licensing agency. TSPC maintains a public list of teachers who have been disciplined. It's quite an eye opening read. Click here to visit the Oregon TSPC discipline list.
There was a time when our society was somewhat tolerant of drunk drivers. Our perception of that crime has changed over time. Perhaps it's time for us to raise the awareness of child sexual abuse to the same level as drunk driving. Our children are our future.