Back to school brings an eclectic batch of lists for most of us. Backpack? Check. New shoes? Check. Notebooks? Check. Sports physical? Check. Registration forms? Check.
Child sexual abuse prevention? Check!
In just a couple of weeks our children will head back to school to begin a new year, certain to be full of new subjects, new friends, new activities, and new challenges. This year, at the start of this new grade, new school, new adventure, let’s keep a prevention checklist in mind as we cross off our seemingly endless to do list.
What types of questions should we, as parents, be asking at the start of a new school year? We need to consider child sexual abuse prevention as one of our most important “to do” check-marks, to help ensure it will be a productive, learning centered, healthy school year for our kids.
*What are your school system’s policies and training procedures for abuse prevention and reporting?
*How does your child’s school minimize risk of abuse? Eliminating one- on- one student/adult situations by making every encounter between a student and an adult observable and interrupt-able is key to protecting our children.
*What are the screening processes for employees? Background checks are essential but so too are reference checks.
*Does the school educate students on abuse prevention and promote their right to report inappropriate behavior?
Remember that talking to our children about abuse is important! Experts tell us that children with the language and the permission to talk about abuse are the safest kids; make sure yours have both! As back to school time approaches, let’s make sure we have everything our kids need crossed off the list!
Editor, Ask Lala
Laura Fogarty writes “Ask Lala” for the Stop Abuse Campaign. She is a mother, an advocate and the author of two children’s abuse prevention books: I’M THE BOSS OF ME! and WE ARE JUST ALIKE!