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A Virginia school board’s unconscionable stance on child abuse

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Just when you think the dystopic world of child abuse cannot get any more outrageous, the news of the Russell County (Va.) School Board’s response to child sexual abuse proves you wrong. A janitor at Lebanon Elementary School pleaded guilty to 150 counts of aggravated sexual battery, carnal knowledge and sodomy in connection with the abuse of four boys, two of whom were students at the elementary school. Yet, the school board denies responsibility.

This preposterous and reckless response by an institution entrusted with the education and care of children sends a frightening message to students and families as well as an open invitation to child predators. Predators look for opportunities to knit themselves into the fabric of communities where children abound. The school district seems to be flashing a neon “Welcome” sign to those who would harm kids.

For the Russell County School Board to disavow its central role in protecting children is just flat-out wrong, legally and morally. Schools by the very virtue of their mission should be among the safest spaces for children in our society. Indeed, schools and educators have a duty of care to act with a reasonable degree of watchfulness, attention, caution and prudence whenever students are in their charge. How could a reasonable person, who is responsible for other people’s children more than seven hours a day, five days a week, not take basic steps to make the environment safer? Fundamental protection of students means conducting effective background checks and ensuring all faculty and staff are provided with instruction in recognizing, responding to and preventing child sexual abuse. Further, this duty of care requires adults who suspect that a child is being harmed to report their suspicions to law enforcement or child protective services.


1 in 5 New York Kids Are Sexually Abused. Help Prevent That

The CDC reports that 1 in 5 children are sexually abused.

9 out of 10 of the perpetrators are never brought to justice and never appear on sex offender registries.

They are protected by New York State laws.

Sign this petition and change that. Protect NY Kids.

Sign Petition Now

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