Pennsylvania has a serious problem. Each year in the U.S., roughly 400 teachers, educators and other school employees are arrested and charged with sexual assault/abuse of students. That comes out to an average of about 9 per state. Looking at current data, 20 teachers and educators in Pennsylvania were arrested for sexual assault or abuse in 2014. That’s over double the per state average.
Unfortunately, for the current calendar year, 2015, it appears that Pennsylvania is on track to again, exceed the per state average. Within the last few months, several teachers in the Philadelphia suburban area have been arrested, charged or convicted of sexually abusing a student.
Just last week, a 40 year old private school counselor and coach at an all-boys school in Malvern (Chester County) was arrested and charged with multiple counts of sexual abuse of a 16 year old student. It’s alleged that this teacher sent sexual images and texts to the student, who then attempted to rebuff the advances by clearly expressing his disinterest in the teacher’s advances. In addition, it’s also alleged that the teacher attempted to ply the student with promises of helping him get into an elite college. Source: www.philly.com, Former Malvern Prep coach arrested for child sex assault.
This isn’t the first criminal case in Chester County, Pennsylvania involving allegations of sexual abuse by a teacher. Earlier this summer, a high school teacher at an all-boys school in Exton was sentenced for sexual abuse of a student. Read more about that case.
One factor which seems to be common in each of the recent school-teacher sex abuse scandals is the use of texting and social media. Almost every recent case includes allegations that the teacher/defendant used texts or social media to contact the student. This recent case in Malvern is no exception.
One reason we’re seeing an increase in these types of cases is the simple fact that texting and social media make it much easier for improper contact to occur. Five or ten years ago, teachers or school employees would not have risked inappropriate contact via mail or email, but now they use texts and social media to initiate sexual contact. In addition, texting and social media provide seemingly private methods of communication.
Therefore, it’s critical for public and private schools alike to adopt cell phone use policies. Educators have no reason to be contacting students via cell phone. In addition, school employees should be trained and retrained on such policies, and these policies must be enforced.
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