Originally posted on The American Catholic Published Thursday, June 5, A.D. 2014
By The Motley Monk
The article’s lead paragraph says it all:
"The recent arrests of teachers in the El Paso area accused of sex crimes against students is part of a nationwide epidemic that dwarfs the priest molestation scandal."
Now, if true, that’s a very big story. But, it seems it’s one in which the mainstream media (MSM) doesn’t appear very much interested. Instead, the MSM—including the National Catholic Reporter—has been focused like a laser whenever the story involves a priest, even if the case is decades old and a $3M settlement was reached.
Now, that’s not to dismiss any of those stories about predatory priests. What’s wrong is wrong—no ifs, ands, or buts about it. Prosecute the evildoers to the full extent of the law. It is to say that the MSM seems to be motivated by a particular agenda concerning those stories: To expose the moral failures of Catholic priests, not those of public school teachers and staff. Terri Miller, the president of a victims advocacy group that tracks teacher-staff sexual misconduct across the nation—Stop Educator Sexual Abuse Misconduct and Exploitation (S.E.S.A.M.E)—is quoted in the El Paso Times as saying that since January 1, 2014, 180+ teachers in the United States have been arrested for alleged sexual misconduct. As of June 1,2014, that’s 1+ teachers-staff/day. Miller said: “We find that to be a huge problem of epidemic proportions.”
Think that number high?
A 10-year-old U.S. Department of Education study indicated that ~10% of children in U.S. public schools are victims of teacher-staff sexual misconduct sometime during their elementary and high school years. The alleged misconduct ranged from sexual comments to statutory rape. However, even though the U.S. Department of Education tracks just about everything that transpires in the nation’s public schools and will be tracking even more with the common core, the Department doesn’t track teacher-staff sexual misconduct! Furthermore, school districts are extremely reluctant to publicize problems. So, with no data available, a compliant MSM has no story. But, when it was discovered that dioceses weren’t tracking misconduct on the part of priests as well as only reluctantly publicizing any allegation, didn’t a non-compliant MSM function as the primary whistleblower?
Well, that was in 2004. To quote Hilary Clinton’s testimony before Congress about Benghazi: “What’s…it…matter…now?” Well, 10 years later, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report examining the sexual abuse of K-12 students in the nation’s public schools. In January 2014, the GAO found that policies and methods to prevent teacher-staff misconduct vary from state to state and from school district to school district. The report noted:
The sexual abuse of students and sexual misconduct by public K-12 school personnel is a complex problem, and such behavior is particularly egregious because schools are entrusted with educating the nation’s children. There are no simple solutions to this problem and, although states and school districts are taking some positive steps, current efforts are clearly not enough. This is now. Ever hear of that report? Did the MSM publicize its content 24/7/365?
Worse yet, the teachers and staff who are accused of misconduct typically are “placed on leave” and, then, “resign.” But that’s not all.
According to Miller:
When I was in high school more than 35 years ago, there were teachers sleeping around. The creepy guys. They would be gone one day to the next. They just seemed to disappear.
But those “creepy guys” didn’t disappear. No, an accused teacher would be sent to different school or allowed to resign and move to another district. The practice was called “passing the trash.” What this practice allowed is for teachers accused of misconduct potentially to victimize multiple students before being brought to justice. Miller notes that teachers charged with sexual misconduct typically work in 3 jurisdictions before being punished. She said: “This practice of ‘passing the trash’ is truly evil. It is helping and abetting child molesters.”
Okay. But, all of that was also a very long time ago. Again, “What’s…it…matter?” Besides, victims’ advocates—including S.E.S.A.M.E’S Miller—believe “passing the trash” has decreased. No…big…problem.
Doesn’t that sound eerily similar to bishops who moved predatory priests around their dioceses and across dioceses? Didn’t the MSM widely publicize bishops who engaged in similar, reprehensible conduct? Why weren’t public school superintendents exposed?
If Miller’s statistics concerning teacher-staff sexual misconduct in the nation’s public schools are accurate, her assessment may be correct:
The abuse that is happening in our schools is 10 times worse than the abuse that happened with clergy in five decades. “The problem of educator abuse is far greater than clergy abuse,” Miller concluded. “The big difference is that we are not mandated to send our children to church. We are mandated to send them to school.”
Well, it may very well be accurate that teacher-staff sexual misconduct in the nation’s public schools is an “epidemic” affecting nearly ~4.5M students and “10 times worse than the abuse that happened with clergy” during the past 5 decades. But, given a generally compliant MSM, it sure would be difficult for anyone to discover.
Why? Could it that the predatory priests didn’t have unions and a generally compliant MSM to protect them?