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Comments about ‘Elizabeth Smart backs bill on child sexual abuse prevention training in schools’

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Published: Wednesday, Feb. 19 2014 7:04 p.m. MST

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birder
Salt Lake City, UT

I am way uncomfortable with putting this topic into a classroom setting. It is yet another example of schools having to try and pick up the pieces for what is not going on in homes. They want us to do suicide prevention, gun safety, bully prevention, sex ed, and now sex abuse prevention. What happened to" 'readin, 'riting, and 'rithmetic?" Oh, I forgot for a moment. The State Legislature and State School Board are in charge.

CP
Tooele, UT

To many children turn up missing and get hurt. I think it's a good thing to have in schools so these children will know what to do. We as parents do our best to teach everything we can to our children but sometimes we need help too. I wish there was something like this taught in school when my kids were younger.

no fit in SG
St.George, Utah

There are ultra conservative lobbying groups who have the legislators ears here in Utah.
It does not matter to these people if this instruction will help children.
The subject includes the word sex, which is a word these lobbyists and legislators refuse to connect with.

FatherOfFour
WEST VALLEY CITY, UT

What "no fit in SG" said. That. Exactly.

JMT
Springville, UT

I wish that the Dnews would allow for us to post links that are thoughtful and constructive to the discussion. Alas, they do not.

If they did I would post links to two scholarly studies. The first is observational with statistically significant data from Texas. It shows that when Planned Parenthood left a cluster of counties that teenage pregnancy and STDs dropped significantly.

Second, a very recent study on bullying that demonstrates, again with hard data, that where anti-bullying programs are implemented bullying actually increases!

In both cases, hard data demonstrates that these well intended programs actually backfire. Turns out teaching kids how 'not to do something' becomes some sort of de facto, this is how you do it.

How do these studies impact this issue? I can only guess though the trend would be that, while very well intended, if this measure becomes law we should expect painful 'blow-back' to borrow a military term.

I strongly suggest this bill be defeated or moved to next legislative session so the issue can be studied much more thoroughly. The data of similar activities is very compelling and informative.

LittleStream
Carson City, NV

It saddens me that there are only three comments on this topic. Preventing child sexual abuse is every human beings job. This is not just a topic for parents, unfortunately children are abducted from school, walking down the street. There will come a day when the predators and the people who did nothing will have to answer to Heavenly Father. I hope they are ready. More people should have read "It Takes A Village" by Hilary Clinton and taken the message to heart. I hope Elizabeth Smart hangs in there like Gabby Gifford. She is a survivor and a brave woman.

FatherOfFour
WEST VALLEY CITY, UT

LittleStream,

I had never heard of "It Takes A Village" by Hilary Clinton. I just read the synopsis on Amazon. It is now next up on my reading list. Thank you for the suggestion!

jans
Pickerington, OH

JMT in Springville - you are forgetting that correlation does not mean causation. What happens when health clinics leave (which PP is)? Then people go elsewhere to get those services. So the fact is, the unplanned pregnancies and STD cases just moved somewhere else to be reported and treated. What happens when kids become aware that they can safely report bullying, etc? The cases of reported bullying go up. That doesn't mean the programs didn't do their job. I would suggest a broader reading of scientific literature on the topics before making statements.

flasher
Tooele, UT

And if she had not backed it??

Eliot
Genola, UT

Why is this bill necessary? If some school districts have already implemented programs to teach children about sex abuse prevention, why must the legislature pass a bill allowing districts to voluntarily teach the subject? Were these districts in violation of the law when they implemented the programs and they needed permission from the legislature to validate their programs? It is not the responsibility of the legislature to mandate curriculum. They should appropriate sufficient funds to schools to establish and maintain schools, let the school board set the standards and then let local schools and districts determine the curriculum and programs most appropriate for their students.

grip
Meridian, ID

If it is being used in some schools at present and is voluntary under the bill, why does it need a law?

sid 6.7
Holladay, UT

I agree with what SG had to say but if JMT is correct then they do have a valid point. It's a tough call either way.

What about an interactive course the school districts offer to the parents and children of their community? Both parent and child attend. My idea is far fetched but it could just work.

I will tell you this, I am fairly confident I will be trusting the word of Elizabeth Smart over any of those uttered by the Eagle Forum. Mrs. Smart has been there, she knows what she is talking about. The Eagle forum and their ilk should stick to placement of lingerie stores and T-shirt's in mall windows. Let the big boy's handle the tough stuff, mmmmmK.

heidi ho
Fort Collins, CO

I grew up in Salt Lake City and was being abused by my father and was not protected by my mother. It was never, ever discussed, at home, in the classroom, no where. I carried that shame for over 50 years. It needs to be brought out into the open so others are held accountable for their actions.

JBQ
Saint Louis, MO

Out of evil, good will always triumph. May God continue to bless Elizabeth.

Utexmom
Flower Mound, TX

JMT: The old school programs probably did increase bullying, but schools picked up on that in recent years and have improved bullying programs. There are very effective ways to take the wind out of a bully's sail. Stopping bullies is a very high priority in the schools - and it is a problem that the schools must fight because that is where it is happening. Bullying has increased over the years, not because of the schools, but because the youth culture has become more violent and desensitized.
Child Sex Abuse Prevention could be taught appropriately in the schools. However, as with any subject in the schools, it will always be taught with the teacher's personal bias. The same is true with sex education, abstinence, bullying, etc. When we hire teachers that really care about the students, who have personal values themselves, our students will get taught higher values. However, the schools are not usually concerned with a teacher's values. Wouldn't it be great if they were?
Years ago my children attended Wasatch Elementary in Provo, Utah. The principal there hired teachers according to their ability to raise student’s self-esteem - Wonderful School.

RedShirt
USS Enterprise, UT

While this is a good thing, there are some questions that should be asked:

1. How much will is cost to develop the material for this?

2. Do we really need to lose another day of instruction for this?

3. Are teachers qualified to teach this, or will it require specialists to come into each school?

Pa. Reader
Harrisburg, PA

Ideally, all important instruction takes place in the home.
However, since the world we live in is not ideal, and since many perpetrators of sexual abuse are, in fact, family members of the victims, additional instruction is necessary and schools are the logical place to reach and teach children.

bullet56
Olympia, WA

I am shocked by the quote given by Elizabeth's father when he said; "Like many parents he did not know what to do, didn't know what to teach his children,...." Really? I hope he taught his daughters to leave any man who hits them, cheats on them, abused their children, is cruel to animals, steals, and a host of other bad behaviors. What so we want the schools to teach? History, Science, Math, and academics.

brotherJonathan
SLC, UT

Use of permanent monitoring devices like a chip or external device would make society much safer. If monitoring was done by software so time and location was a known entity: deterrence would be a very real powerful tool against future acts of sexual misconduct. Even crazy people look both ways, not all of the time but the resulting knowledge that getting caught would be a real possibility would have the desired effect on many opportunistic sex offenders. And the ones that like to plan would find having a record of their time and location on file would make for a much safer world for children and women. Because they are the victims most of the time. Ask yourself ladies; if your car was to breakdown at night on a lonely road would you want every sex offender to be monitored for time and whereabouts? Most criminals do not want to get caught and even the sick ones show intelligence as they hide their acts from detection best they can.
Ask UAG/lawmakers if such a law could be used? As long as no crimes were reported no use of the stored information would even be reviewed by authorities with jurisdiction.

John Pack Lambert of Michigan
Ypsilanti, MI

People have yet to convincingly demonstrate that exposing children to the very idea of this threat will protect them from it. There is little children can do against adults who will adduct them. It would seem to be better to focus our resources on apprehending the evil people who do this, not on training programs that have little proven benefit.

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