Yesterday I wrote about the tragic case in Los Angeles where Steve Rooney, an Assistant Principal was arrested on charges of molesting a student. It had been reported that Rooney had been previously accused of molesting other students and of pointing a gun at a student’s father. Instead of taking Rooney away from students while the investigation and criminal charges were resolved, Los Angeles Unified School District officials simply transferred Rooney to another school, where he molested two more students.
Today, the Los Angeles Times is reporting that two school officials, Local District Supts. Carol Truscott and Scott Braxton, have been “assigned” to the central office pending further investigation. In perhaps the first good thing to come out of this tragedy, Los Angeles Unified School District Senior Deputy Supt. Ramon C Cortines, stepped up and said “There is evidence they did not do what is expected. In cases involving sexual misconduct we have a responsibility to continue the investigation until we feel that the employee is cleared to be in contact with student.” Such an acceptance of responsibility is rare. Cortines has said what all parents know: When we turn our children over to the school we expect them to take care of our kids. When that doesn’t happen horrible things can happen.
Teacher/pupil sexual misconduct inflicts emotional scars that may not surface for years. But when they do, they are serious and pervasive. What can you do? Talk to your kids about boundaries. Tell them how to distinguish between a good touch and bad touch. Tell them it OK to tell someone if a teacher makes them feel “funny”. The vast majority of our teachers are dedicated professionals who love our kids. The ones who are not, however, can inflict irreparable harm. Several web-sites are dedicated to helping stop educator sexual abuse.
Please, become informed and talk to your kids.