***READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED***
Posts about real school tragedy, crime and/or events can be upsetting.
Sadly, there was a school shooting this week at a middle school in Indiana. The motive is unknown. Someone learned of the threat and called in to report it. The authorities acted fast, the school went into lock-down, and the only casualty was the shooter who took his own life. My heart hurts for all involved including the family of the deceased. Brave accolades go to the person who saw something and said something.
If you’re new to receiving my shared research, thank you for joining the reader club. Now, prepare to be shocked (even more so if you’ve worked in a school setting).
BLOG POST #170: This week, I’m sharing research on specific criminal cases involving 5th-grade students—15 girls to be exact—a superintendent, school principal, math teacher, and teacher’s aide.
He’d been a volunteer in 5th-grade math for 5 years. He sat next to the girls in math class, put his hand on their stomach and then as he continued to talk about the math, he’d move his hand up and rub the child’s breast. He’d also hug the girls and touch them in places that he shouldn’t.
The teacher’s aide, under the guise of tutoring, took one girl to a vacant room two times a week and molested her.
Individually, the girls complained to the principal who did not call the Dept. of Human Services as required by state law, instead directed the girls to “fist bump” or “high five” rather than hug the teacher.
The principal also told one student not to report the misconduct because people could get into trouble.
One student wrote a note to another about what the teacher’s aide had done and passed the note in class. The math teacher, who’d been teaching for almost 30-years, saw the incident, confiscated the note, read it, and then took the girl into the hallway where he accused her of lying.
When a parent learned what was happening, they went to the local authorities who began an investigation.
A few days before the police had been notified, the principal informed the superintendent about the allegations. The superintendent also did nothing with the complaints.
The teacher’s aide pleaded guilty to 20 counts of lewd or indecent acts to a child under 16, as well as an aggravated charge of possession of child pornography found on his home computer. The judge sentenced him to 20 years in prison, but he’ll only serve 10. He’ll be 96 when he’s released. He’ll be required to register as a sex offender and be supervised for two years. That wasn’t a typo—he’ll be 96 when he’s released!
The math teacher was charged and pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor count of failure to promptly report child abuse or neglect and received five years probation. He claimed it wasn’t his responsibility—it was the principal’s job to report allegations to the Dept. of Human Services.
After reaching a plea deal for a deferred sentence, the principal pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor count of failure to promptly report child abuse or neglect. She will not have a conviction on her record if she doesn’t break any laws for five years.
All three employees plus the superintendent lost their jobs. The teacher and principal also had their teaching credentials suspended.
The families of the fifteen students have sued the school board for failing to provide a safe learning environment and failing to provide its students with an environment free of sexual predators. The case is still in the system.
What are your thoughts about this case? Join the conversation on the website. We talk about the sensitive subject of crimes occurring at or connected to schools. Your relevant comments are always welcome on the Research Blog.
Do you know of a school crime you’d like to share? Email me so we can discuss the details.
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