As a teacher you are trained in how to keep children safe on the playground, in your classroom and in the event of an emergency. In fact, most schools have procedures in place to support you in this area. However, you may not be trained in simple things you can do to prevent child sexual abuse BEFORE it happens. Below is a list of practices to consider:
Be a “groupie.” 80% or more of child sexual abuse happens in isolated one-on-one situations. Eliminate or reduce one-on-one interactions between children or one adult and a child. Group situations with multiple adults are the safest.
Keep it open. Make sure your classroom doesn’t have any secluded areas that are hidden from your view.
Make good choices. Avoid activities that have decreased structure, limited supervision or encourage boundary violations (e.g. tag, touch football).
Know who is in your classroom. Make certain your school has a policy to conduct background screenings, reference checks and interviews on all paid staff and background checks on all volunteers.
Bring along parents. Be direct, honest and open with parents/guardians about steps you are taking to protect their children from sexual abuse. Encourage them to get educated about the risks of sexual abuse and how to minimize those risks so they can partner with you in prevention.
Call it out. The moment you recognize inappropriate behavior or boundary violations, say something. Be specific about what you observe, redirect the child/person to a favorable behavior and then move on. Train other adults in your classroom to do the same.
Balancing your protective role with one that promotes chances for children to explore their world and try new things can be tricky but is doable. Need suggestions? Call Blue Sky Bridge. 303-444-1388