I’ve spent the last two weeks training staff in child sexual abuse prevention, at various schools in the Denver Metro area. For the first time, I introduced a Parenting Safe Children screening video we produced this summer, which shows a parent discussing the school’s child sexual abuse prevention policies with the school director. You know what many of the staff said? “Wow, I wish every parent did this!”
So with that encouragement, please have a conversation with your child’s principal, teacher and/or day care provider. And to offer some support, you will find three tools in this e-newsletter:
Back-to-School Post - How Is Your Child’s School Reducing the Risk of Child Sexual Abuse?
New Video - Talking with a School Director about Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Policies
Free Packet - Parenting Safe Children Back-to-School Packet
How is Your Child's School Reducing the Risk of Sexual Abuse?
Talking with the Director
Just as you would talk with the director about curriculum, teachers, meals, and play safety, it's also important to ask about policies and practices that will help keep your kids safe from sexual abuse. There have been far too many cases of sexual abuse in schools, to let this topic, however uncomfortable, be overlooked.
Ask the director about background checks for teachers, staff and even volunteers. Most sex offenders, however, are never actually caught so they don’t end up on the National Sex Offender Registry. This means it’s also important to ask about reference checking and interviewing. Ideally, the director includes interview questions about the appropriate and inappropriate touch of children.
Also ask about a range of policies:
Adults spending alone time with children
Appropriate and inappropriate touch of children by adults
Appropriate and inappropriate touch of children by other children
Diapering, toileting, and changing clothes
Policies, however, aren’t enough, so you might ask how practices are monitored. As you are talking with the director, look for open and forthcoming communication.
Read more about what to look for as you walk through your child's school, and get ideas for how to invite a teacher on to your prevention team.
The Parenting Safe Children community on Facebook is 2,600 strong and we’re having some great conversations. Every Thursday, for instance, we do a Teachable Moment – e.g., How would you respond if your child says, “My friend wants me to sleep at his/her house, but I don’t want to.?” Check out the post and exchange from August 15 on Facebook now!
Many parents tell me how hard it is to have screening conversations and invite others onto their prevention team. To make it easier, I’m proud to introduce our first screening video, a conversation between a parent and a school director. It’s about four minutes long and school staff are saying they wish every parent would do this!
Big thanks to Nancy James, Director, Montessori Academy of Colorado and Emily Pembroke, Parent, for their commitment to keeping kids safe!
As always, we have lots of workshops coming up. Please check out my schedule and share it with your friends. The more people who are educated and applying body-safety lessons, the safer our communities.
I’d like to give a shout out to five schools in your community that hosted staff workshops this month for the 2013 school year. These schools are going the distance toward building school communities that are off limits to child sexual abuse.
Temple Emanuel Early Childhood Center, Denver, CO (August 13, 2013)
Downtown Denver Expeditionary School, Denver, CO (August 13, 2013)
Boulder Country Day School, Boulder, CO (August 15, 2013)
Montessori School of Evergreen, Evergreen, CO (August 16, 2013)
Jarrow Montessori, Boulder, CO (August 20, 2013)
Montessori Academy of Colorado, Denver, CO (private refresher)