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Two simple and powerful security recommendations to lower the statistics of sexual abuse within schools




Although gun violence is intolerable and tragic, it only represents a small fraction of all forms of school violence. Sexual assaults against students, on the other hand, are far more common in elementary, middle, and high schools. Millions of parents trust educational facilities with the care of their children, expecting them to comply with the legal and moral obligations to prevent, detect and respond to sexual abuse promptly and appropriately.

A Case Study of K–12 School Employee Sexual Misconduct: Lessons Learned from Title IX Policy Implementation points out very concerning data: 1 in 10 students are victims of sexual abuse by school staff and one teacher offender can have as many as 73 victims. Although there are now many movements that encourage the prevention of sexual violence and a culture of respect and responsibility is promoted in most schools, leaders can efficaciously deter and detect sexual assaults by using two simple, but powerful security recommendations. Being proactive and ensuring students are fully protected must be a top priority for K-12 schools.

The importance of background checks

Sexual abuse in schools is often perpetrated by teachers and other employees who have easy access to students. Hence, protecting children starts from the moment of hiring. Thoroughly verifying new applicant’s credentials, qualifications, and references is indispensable, especially, when one-third of applicants lie on their resumes. This practice should also be considered for temporary workers and volunteers like substitute teachers.

Chances cannot be taken by school administrators when it comes to preventing sexual violence in campus. Obtaining criminal records and establishing a standard background screening policy for employees is necessary. Overall, schools must clearly state their policies, procedures, and disciplinary actions against sexual predators, as well as use validated screening tests to identify individuals with a history or tendency to molest children. Letting employees know this issue is not taken lightly and that the institution is serious about protecting its students is vital to guarantee a safe school environment.

The role of video surveillance

Thoughtful and structured school supervision is one of the most effective ways to prevent sexual assaults in schools. It can be accomplished not only by having reliable human supervision in place, but also by using advanced technologies that help eliminate the potential of sexual harassment and assaults.

Smart cameras and closed-circuit TV paired with video analytics can capture student actions, identify perpetrators, and deter crime by warning offenders they are being monitored. The capabilities go beyond monitoring. Administrators and the appropriate authorities can also get alerted, in real-time, of any troubling incident. Approximately 6 out of 10 public and 4 out of 10 private schools report using cameras and that is because it is physically impossible to always have a member of staff in every area of the school to monitor and prevent harmful situations. Therefore, adopting a modern system that ensures the safety of all children should be considered.

Technologies properly integrated and deployed in the school field are aimed at reducing the risk of rapists and child molesters seeking privacy with victims. And even in cases where children are in intimate settings with adults, like in the case of one-on-one classes or guidance sessions, video surveillance can still guarantee immoral behavior is stopped and cases of child molestation are reduced.