Saturday, June 07, 2014

Jumping on a Bandwagon....With Some Actual FACTS!!

Oh yes.  It's another one of those days where my britches have been burned by comments and accusations that have been made about public schools, and it's caused this rant for today.

Yesterday, yet another news story was reported about a bus driver from a local school district who is in jail for sexual assualt against a minor.  The story is very vague.  In fact, here's the ENTIRE story from the website:

ROGERS -- A man who works as a bus driver for Rogers School District has been arrested on sex assault charges.

According to the Benton County Jail records, Stephen Betts, 51, faces a single charge of sexual assault. He was booked into the jail Friday afternoon.

Investigators say they got a report that Betts had inappropriate sexual contact with a girl, starting with when she was 9-years old and continuing until she was 13. The incidents started about thirteen years ago.

Rogers Public Schools says Betts was a worker in the transportation department as a driver trainer and transportation clerk. He turned his resignation in on Friday afternoon.

Betts also works at Monte Ne Baptist Church.  They declined to comment on his arrest.  On his Facebook profile, he lists his position with the church as Student Ministries Pastor.

He is being held at the Benton County Sheriff's Office awaiting a bond hearing.

So, from this report we can gather that he is currently in jail, is being charged for a sexual assault that started about 13 years ago, works for the school's transportation department, and is possibly a youth minister (if we're using his Facebook page as a source).

That's it.

It says nothing about if the charge has anything to do with a child on a school bus, a child from his church, or a child he knew some other way.  It doesn't even say if he knew the child.  There's NO INFORMATION other than what is given here.

Yet, after this story posted, the hate and accusations started flying.  People starting screaming that they were going to homeschool their children, they were done with public schools, enough is enough.  Others bashed the Christian faith stating that it was safer to be non-religious than it was to trust people that "claim" to be servants of God.  

Me, being the "can't help but add my 2 cents" kind of person that I am decided to write this comment:

As a teacher, it makes me so sad that stories like this come out and everyone starts screaming "homeschool!!" Do you know how many sexual assaults we deal with on a daily basis that happen at home?? By a FAMILY MEMBER!!! They just don't get reported to the media!!! I really wish news casters would spend a small amount of time highlighting some of the wonderful, heart-melting, amazing things teachers and school employees do EVERY DAY to protect and help children. Please do not bash the entire school system when you only ever hear the bad and NONE of the good, or none of the bad that we deal with when it comes to abuse and neglect that happens at home!!!!!!!

Very similar to what I wrote in my blog just a couple of days ago, in fact.  It makes me so mad, sad, and disappointed when people jump on a bandwagon when there is no real facts to back it up.  They bad mouth and drag public schools through the dirt because of the few stories that show up in the media.  If not that, they immediately go to religion and bash away at that.  And, I will say that ANY story about a school official committing sexual abuse is one too many, but for every one story that is publicized about a school official, 100 go by about a parent or family member abusing their kids that you never get to hear.

Yes, folks.  The truth of the matter is, teachers, principals, school counselors, and other school personnel deal with this type of horrifying news DAILY!  Except all of the reports we make don't go straight to the headlines, they are locked up safe and sound with Child Protective Services.  It's very sad to say it, but if the news only reported child abuse claims made by EVERYONE, it would be on a 24 hour constant roll.  I'm sure of it.  And, 98% of those accused would be a family member, friend of the family, or an acquaintance of the family.

And, let's not even get started with false accusations.  I've heard about kids who have falsely accused a parent or guardian because they were mad, and completely destroyed lives in the process.  Or, they fabricate stories, just a little, and what comes out is deemed abuse - even though they have no idea that their words are being misconstrued that way.  I'm not saying that ALL sexual assault claims shouldn't be investigated and prosecuted to the full extent of the law, but sometimes...just sometimes... there are people being punished for crimes they didn't actually commit.

Not very long ago, I spoke with a counselor who shared a horrific story about a guy who basically lost his entire life thanks to a false accusation.  A six year old child accused her uncle of "inappropriate touching".  Or, at least, that's what he was charged with.  And do you know what "evidence" they needed to convict? Her word.  That's it.  No DNA, no photographs, no video, just her testimony given to a trained counselor.  Not to get too graphic, but the report stated that he touched her genitals, while laughing, and asked her if it felt funny when he touched her.  That was enough to have him charged with second degree sexual assault, 6 months in jail, and life-long sex offender registry.  Do you know what his story was?  While babysitting (he was caring for her and his own daughter at the time), she wet her pants.  He took off her wet clothes and used a cold wet wipe to clean her up.  When he was cleaning her, she screamed and laughed from the cold, and he apologized to her and asked her if she was OK, and if she felt OK.  Of course, again, that was just HIS side of the story.  And, nobody was buying it.  Why would a six year old lie about something like that?  A few months after the guy was in jail, it somehow came about that his story was in fact ACTUALLY what happened.  The little girl had basically no idea what all the fuss had been about, and during her court ordered counseling had explained to the counselor the actual events of the day, and it was used to get him released.  Still, a few years later, his life is not the same.  His wife divorced him, she got full custody of their daughter, and even though he was released, no judge seemed to be willing to "take the chance" of letting him have anything other than supervised visits with his daughter.

And just as horrific as it is that there are so many sexual abuses taking place in this country, it's just as horrific that so many are false accusations.  And, the sad part is, many of them stem from something quite innocent getting blown up to gigantic proportions.

I most definitely AM NOT defending child abusers.  Anyone that intentionally harms a child in any way should have what's coming to them.  And I have my own opinions on that, that differ quite a bit from what the federal government and the state courts think.

What I am getting at, though, is you can't make rash judgements on one story or even several stories that are reported to the media.  

Take the homeschooling rant I've seen pop up over and over again on this story, alone.  OK, so a parent doesn't like the fact that a school employee gets arrested for sexual assault and decides that homeschooling is the only way to protect their child.

Let's take a look at some statistics on that, shall we? (I got my information from,, and trainings that I have attended)

2/3 of reported sexual abuse happens from a person who knows their victim.  More than half of those reported are by a family member, friend of the family, or a family acquaintance.  58% of the sexual abuse happens IN THE HOME!  

Over 50% of sexually assaulted children reported not feeling comfortable telling a parent, but DID feel comfortable sharing it with a teacher, school counselor, or school official.

Many sexually assaulted children do NOT come from bad homes, and the parents are completely oblivious to the abuse.  They often reported some changes in behavior, mood swings, and changes in sleeping and eating habits - but other than that, had absolutely NO idea that sexual assault was even a possibility.

School personnel are often trained to identify signs of abuse, how to approach the topic of abuse without causing discomfort to the victim, and often have a higher chance of getting a victim to report the abuse.

17% of sexual abuse happens between siblings, cousins, or peers, and while the law defines the acts as sexual abuse, the perpetrator is unaware of wrong doing and is often confused or sexually curious.  Children falling in to this category are still subject to juvenile sexual offense charges, and can be incarcerated in juvenile detention facilities and/or have their name placed on a national sex registry. 

There's some facts about abuse, but what about homeschooling in general?

Even though I am a teacher in public schools, I am not against homeschooling.  AS LONG AS the right decisions have been made, research has been done, and the parent/guardian is aware at what they are getting in to.  

Homeschooling is a very tough endeavor.  If a parent or guardian uses an accredited method of homeschooling, there can be a lot of success.  There are many options out there when it comes to homeschooling.

My problem comes when a parent, who has received no real training, believes they can do a better job "teaching" their child than an actual teacher can.  They make the decision because of something like we're discussing right here - they don't feel "safe" sending their child to school.

OK, let's look at that scenario in a different light.  If that's the case, why aren't we treating and performing surgery on our own family members right at home?? Do you know how many people DIE in the hands of physicians and surgeons?  Do you know how many doctors and nurses are charged all the time for sexual abuse, malpractice, and other forms of abuse?  Then why hasn't an uprising occurred on not taking our kids to hospitals and doctors?  

Do you know why?  Because even if there was a story reported EVERY DAY about a doctor who sexually abused his/her patients, or a doctor that overdosed his/her patients, or a medical specialist who liked to take extreme risks with the lives of his/her patients, people aren't TRAINED to perform medical procedures at home.  This happens, and people just take their kids to another doctor.  Simple.  Because, they wouldn't even fathom performing medical procedures at home... where it's safe.

Educators are trained professionals.  Just like doctors.  We know how to teach, what to teach, and the skills that children need in order to succeed in the future.  When another parent screams "homeschool" and has absolutely no idea what homeschooling actually entails, that's just another slap to the educator's face that our career is worthless...means nothing...anybody can do it.

And the truth is, no.  No, not anybody can do it.  Not correctly.

I have seen my share of kids who have been homeschooled correctly versus those children whose parents just wanted their children to be "safe".  Correctly homeschooled children are being given the correct skills, learning the content they need to learn, and are socially adapted.  That's because those homeschooling parents have joined with a TRAINED organization to provide those skills.  Parents that sit at home and think they know what's best, and go to Barnes & Noble and pick up a few curriculum books and sets of flash cards are highly missing the mark.  

DO NOT judge the public school system by what the media has to say about it.  Research, learn the facts, TALK TO EDUCATORS that have been doing this a long time.  

But, unless you plan on putting your child in a plastic bubble, locking them in a safe room, and letting them have absolutely NO contact with the outside world, do NOT scream that homeschooling or keeping your child out of church is the only way to protect them.

Remember, for every one bad story you see on the news, there are THOUSANDS of GOOD stories you're not seeing. Because they are boring.  They're not "newsworthy".  

And take a second to learn some facts before you bash an entire system of people that have dedicated their lives to protect, care for, and love the children you send in to our classrooms.

OK, rant over.


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