Schools Behaving Badly
I don’t know what’s worse – a teacher sexually abusing Kindergarten children in his own classroom, or school officials not taking action on complaints from concerned parents.
Apparently that’s what has occurred at an elementary school in the same district where my son attends school – the Plano ISD, considered one of the top districts in north Texas.
A Cover-Up or Gross Mishandling of Oversight?
According to WFAA-TV in Dallas, parents of three elementary students say administrators at Hunt Elementary in Murphy, Texas, repeatedly dismissed concerns about kindergarten teacher Joseph Garbarini. Garbarini, 30, is currently serving a 62-year prison sentence after he was convicted of child sexual abuse last year.
Is it me, or does this have the makings of a Penn State scandal? Only time will tell. Watch the news clip from WFFA-TV and let me know what you think. (A big thank you to reader Amy Blasingame for sending this to me.) This story reminds me of a similar mishandling that goes on in my novel, LITTLE 15. In it, 15-year-old Lauren Muchmore falls into an affair with her basketball coach, who coerces her into sex. Eventually, the school finds out about the affair. But wanting to save face, school officials fail to protect Lauren or to bring the man to justice.
Fiction or not, even though the law requires school officials to report any suspected abuse, it doesn’t mean they always follow through. So parents, what can we learn from this?
Be Your Child’s No.-1 Advocate
Never fully trust or depend on teachers or school officials to protect your children. Don’t get me wrong – there are great teachers out there who really care about the safety of our kids. But I’m talking about those few bad apples who ruin it for the rest. Be vigilant. If you suspect funny business or foul play, speak up. Loudly. For the sake of your son or daughter. Because at the end of the day, you alone are your child’s biggest advocate.
What is your takeaway from all this? Have you heard of any sex-abuse cases involving a teacher or a coach going on where you live?
Attorneys – do you want to shed any light on this case? We welcome your expertise!
Related story: More Teachers Behaving Badly