August 2021 —
The MLO Minute: By Heather Hulse, J.D., M.S., M.A. and Joseph McGettigan, Esq. —
Sexual misconduct of students at the hands of educators that students and their families should be able to trust is devastating to victims and their families, as well as the communities whose faith in the educational system has also been violated. Sexual misconduct in school happens in every state across the nation and Pennsylvania’s Department of Education has reported that more than half of all disciplinary actions enforced on educators in Pennsylvania schools involve sexual misconduct. While the statistics certainly support the alarming prevalence of sexual misconduct in schools, the apprehensiveness to believe such horrible violations occur as frequently as they do can often add another layer of anguish for victims and their families.
The shocking and horrendous acts of Jerry Sandusky and the incredible fall out in the very tight community where they occurred, as well as nationwide, are a reminder of how challenging the investigations of sexual misconduct can be. As many recall, Jerry Sandusky was the assistant coach for Penn State University’s football team that was convicted of forty-five (45) counts of child sex crimes against ten (10) victims over fifteen (15) years. More specifically, he horrifically sexually molested boys from eight (8) years old to seventeen (17) years old for years. The Jerry Sandusky scandal is a tragic reminder that it is imperative that school employees, parents and guardians, and members of communities fully understand ways to prevent sexual misconduct in schools and the appropriate course of action when a report of sexual misconduct has been made. Preventing sexual misconduct can obviously save students and their families undue suffering. Responding appropriately to reports of sexual misconduct assists victims and their families in coping with and navigating the aftermath of what has tragically happened to them and helps to bring the proper consequences to perpetrators. Click here to finish reading the full article.