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Prof Working To Reduce Child Sex Abuse In Schools

Children who are most likely to be abused by a school employee include girls, especially girls of color whose parents do not speak English.

Hobson

Photo: Dan Goldblatt/WFIU News

IU Professor Charles Hobson began researching sexual abuse in at the college level, and found studies that show widespread abuse at the K-12 level. He has penned a parenting guide to help prevent sexual abuse in schools.

An Indiana University-Northwest researcher has penned a pamphlet aimed at preventing abuse in schools – largely from data he says should have been publicized earlier.

By the time a kindergartener reaches the 12th grade, there is a one in ten chance he or she will be sexually abused by a school employee, such as a teacher or coach.

That figure startled management professor Charlie Hobson.

“(Parents) have to talk with their kids; they have to talk about names for body parts,” he says. “For example, they have to talk about names for body parts that are off limits to anybody, and if anybody touches those body parts, they need to talk with their parents so that action can be taken.”

Hobson says children most likely to be abused by a school employee include girls, especially girls of color whose parents do not speak English. He says administrators commonly do not report sexual abuse to police, choosing instead to transfer the accused employee out of the school system.

Bartholomew Consolidated Schools Student Assistance Coordinator Larry Perkinson says his schools conduct extensive background checks on all employees annually, and administrators work to ensure a safe environment for students.

“We spend a good portion of our time, and it started about five years ago, we have people who day in and day out are filling out paperwork, completing those checks and reviewing them every year,” he says.

The figures come from a 2004 report from the U.S. Department of Education which Hobson only unearthed least year while doing research on sexual abuse at the post-secondary level.

A link to his parenting guide can be found here.

Dan Goldblatt

Dan Goldblatt is the Multi-media Producer for WFIU/WTIU News. A graduate of Indiana University, he studied journalism and anthropology. He currently lives in Bloomington with his cat, June Carter.

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