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Forgotten Victims: The Scourge of Abuse by Teachers in America’s Public Schools

Forgotten Victims: The Scourge of Abuse by Teachers in America’s Public Schools

Today’s headlines are riddled with sexual abuse cases by clergy.  However, one would be hard pressed to find reported examples of sex abuse in our schools committed by teachers and faculty.  Unfortunately, the incidence of sexual abuse by teachers in public schools has been estimated to be "more than 100 times" that by clergy, and there is alarming evidence of school officials covering up abuse and failing to report suspected cases to authorities. Mainstream media outlets have largely ignored these shocking statistics.

One 2004 U.S. Department of Education report showed that "the most accurate data available" reveals that "nearly 9.6 percent of [public school] students are targets of educator sexual misconduct sometime during their school career."

 The author of the study, Dr. Charol Shakeshaft, said in 2006, "[T]hink the Catholic Church has a problem? The physical sexual abuse of students in schools is likely more than 100 times the abuse by priests."

This same 2004 report cited an important study from the mid-1990s:

“In an early [1994] study of 225 cases of educator sexual abuse in New York, all of the accused had admitted to sexual abuse of a student but none of the abusers were reported to authorities.”

Outrageously, it was the universal practice in New York among school administrators not to call police to report abusers.

The 1994 study also reported that only 1 percent of those abusive educators lost their license. In addition, most alarmingly, "25 percent received no consequence or were reprimanded informally and off-the-record. Nearly 39 percent chose to leave the district, most with positive recommendations or even retirement packages intact."

As horrific the statistics are concerning sexual abuse of children by clergy, the problem in our schools appears to be an epidemic of monstrous proportions.

If you or a loved one have been sexually abused by a teacher, or school faculty member, you are not alone.  Please contact us at Price & Randle, LLC for help at (573) 240-8866.

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