K-12 Education is in danger of collapsing, resulting in a slew of tragic and revolting events. Not only have shootings occurred, but sexual assault has also occurred in schools, making parents fearful. Schools are supposed to teach, but it is becoming increasingly dangerous for parents to rely on them.
Kevin McLean, a 30-year-old school administrator who works as both a teacher and a coach at Dripping Springs Middle School, has been accused of having an inappropriate relationship with multiple students aged 12 to 14 – and this was discovered when one of the suspect’s family members discovered one of the photos containing student’s underwear or possibly ‘very short under-shorts’ in the sent snapchat messages.
According to Kxan, the officer reported nine messages from McLean’s snapchats indicating that he also regularly used narcotic mushrooms. Not only that, but one of the victim’s parents discovered that McLean had sent a sexually explicit video to their children and mentioned that McLean had offered to use his THC vape pen.
The school has reported that McLean will no longer come back to the campus – “Please know that it is always our priority and responsibility to provide your students with a safe and professional learning environment.”
However, McLean was hired in August 2020 and passed the national background check required for all employees – it is still problematic that this occurred even after the normal process of national background check for educators.
Although schools must enforce strict policies to protect students from sexual assaults, parental sex education is also essential.
According to the study findings, 58 percent of parents with children aged 5 to 18 have already discussed sex with their children, with 21 percent planning to do so in the future and the remaining 21 percent not planning to discuss sex at all. The reason why so many parents are unwilling to discuss sex education with their children is due to the children’s age as well as their own discomfort in discussing sex with their children. However, seven in ten agreed that this type of conversation should take place at a young age because children are likely exposed to similar topics on social media.
“Parents are the most influential people in an adolescent’s decisions about sexuality, and we encourage family discussions about their values related to sexuality,” Tazmine Weisgerber, training and technical assistance manager at Answer, stated in an email that parents should begin talking about sex education at a young age, indicating that it is not a difficult subject to teach, like how parents teach math and science to their children.
The Seattle School Board has also made a change regarding sexual harassment policy – students at Ballard High School strongly insisted on implementing the policy for protecting students from sexual assault – some mentioning feeling unsafe at school, not having anyone to talk about their sexual assault experience.
Students at Lincoln High School have also begun to support the sexual harassment policies. With such strong student demand, the school has implemented two new policies, including strategies to provide additional support for survivors, adding language that holds Seattle Schools more accountable and provides more accurate details on the procedures, and so on.
Students stated that these demands have yet to be met, indicating the need for a supporting program or a person to care for the survivors and provide a safe environment. Along with this demand, therapists at high schools are said to require school districts to carve out money for therapists at a time when school districts nationwide are facing a budget crisis, according to the Seattle Times.
The US Department of Education states that it is the responsibility of the school to have and distribute a policy against sex discrimination, as well as have a Title IX Coordinator to support survivors – it is still debatable whether these procedures and policies are followed to support survivors.
Schools are making changes; however, they are not as effective as they were thought to be – the unfortunate tragedy of teachers passing all of the background checks to become educators but then engaging in sexual harassment with students must be reflected with why – if the procedure was too brief – to become an educator. Furthermore, both parents and school educators must recognize the importance of sex education for students to understand what constitutes sexual harassment and how to respond to it.
Read more: How Are Schools Responding to Gun Violence?