Spoke Too Soon

Within an hour of publishing We Have Enough Bad Examples we learned that another Northampton County Pennsylvania teacher was facing felony charges involving a minor. His inappropriate relationship with a 12 year old student became sexual when she was 14.

Then we were all horrified to hear that Idaho high school football players had been sexually assaulting a disabled teammate with a coat hanger. Next up in the “Please, we don’t want to know” category was the Texas teacher fleeing charges associated with “almost daily” sex with a 13 year old boy.

In all three of the cases at least some students and teachers had been aware of the not just aberrant, but criminal behavior. All three teachers had passed stringent background checks but what else did the school leadership have in place to protect their children? The young girl’s school district has a very dense if incomplete six page reporting policy that stipulates “Any person with any information … must report the information to the Building Principal.” (Emphasis added.)

This is the Idaho school district’s policy: “All complaints, concerns or challenges regarding a specific school or individual should be registered first at the building level with the appropriate teacher or principal.  Experience has shown that this is the best procedure.” (Emphasis added.)

What seems to be the most appropriate link to the Texas school’s reporting procedure gets you 404! Page Not Found. (Emphasis theirs.) We've seen much better procedures than these three and hotlines that didn't work.

Our seminal research, Comprehensive Analyses of Factors Associated with Communicating Serious Issues, Feedback and Suggestions was dedicated to my father because of his unwavering insistence that that there was a way to prevent horrors such as the Penn State child sex abuse from ever happening again. It was also dedicated to all the children who were abused because we didn’t know how to protect them.

The “How” in the subtitle of the research, Why Serious Issues Go Unreported and How Leaders Can Protect Their People and Organizations from Devastating Consequences, is a relatively simple nonproprietary Effective Notification System which would have prevented the three tragedies noted here, and many others. Let’s not add any more children to the research dedication.

I may have spoken too soon about having enough bad examples but now I’m not going to stop speaking until these incidents stop and these incidents are not going to stop until every single organization that works with minors has an Effective Notification System. And you should help. Leaders should make sure their organizations have a Connected System and parents shouldn’t allow their children to be involved with a group or organization that does not have an Effective Notification System.

Our applications don’t just protect children from sex abuse. They’re effective for all serious issues from bullying to discrimination to harassment to safety and security to fraud and theft. And organizations that also use our feedback applications are invariably surprised by all the good feedback they get.

1st Notice will not allow cost to be a barrier to an organization having an effective notification system. AskUs@1stNotice.com to learn about our assistance programs.