Far too many students nationwide continue to be victims of sexual abuse and molestation. The news is regularly highlighting the worst of these cases, but the actual number of victims is much higher. Although the great majority of educators and staff are dedicated to the safety of their students, when these tragedies do occur, the costs are deep and large—not only forever damaging these impressionable children and their families, schools are regularly being sued for the criminal acts of their employees who prey on these often most vulnerable children. The verdicts, settlements, and costs of these suits are the fastest-growing segment of liability claims against schools—we estimate the cost is now approaching 40%—with verdicts and settlements regularly reaching seven figures.
ASCIP members need to pay extra attention to this risk area—these acts may occur at any school. ASCIP’s highest priority is to continue to develop and deploy resources for our members that increase awareness for all staff, improve supervision and screening of candidates, and ultimately reduce the number of students who become victims. Defense investigations show that often staff observe odd behavior, but don’t report it since they are not aware of what “grooming” is or that “boundaries” are being crossed.
ASCIP Provides Abuse Prevention Resources:
- Adult-student interaction policy and procedure templates to provide staff with clear boundaries. Action can be taken when employees are informed of appropriate boundaries before they “cross the line”.
- NASDTEC Clearinghouse for members to check employees and candidates for prior investigations, credentialing holds or concerns that may not have resulted in convictions, even in other states.
- Training is available to increase awareness, help staff help each other and avoid accusations. “Making Right Choices” is an incredible ‘eye-opener’ for staff.
Learn more about abuse risks in the press by clicking on the following links: