Ask Terri Miller, the president of Stop Educator Sexual Abuse Misconduct and Exploitation (SESAME) who one of the biggest actors of sexual misconduct in the nation’s high schools and she doesn’t hesitate.
“It’s the coaches,” said Miller. One of the reasons for this, she suggests, is that coaches have significant leverage over students, perhaps even more than teachers, since a student athlete’s social framework may be tied to athletic participation and the fact that student athletes may hold their coaches in high esteem.
Factor in the fact that coaches frequently haven’t had the ethics training of full-time teachers, and there can be recipe for sexual misconduct between coaches and student athletes.
In the past, athletic directors, superintendants, school board attorneys and other officials had few ways to proactively address this problem before it occurred.
That changed on September 22.
MicroAssist (www.microassist.com), an e-Learning pioneer, announced at a national technology conference the launch of EthicsEd (www.ethicsed.com), an e-Learning program that is designed to help school districts prevent instances of sexual misconduct and abuse between employees and their students before it occurs.
According to a study by the U.S. Department of Education, 4.5 million children are subject to sexual misconduct between kindergarten and 12th grade. Nearly 10 percent of students are victims of abuse.
“EthicsEd was selected because of this pervasive problem and the limited number of solutions that are out there to address it,” said Sanjay Nasta, the CEO of MicroAssist.
Not surprisingly, those who have a responsibility to address the problem are embracing EthicsEd. For example, the Public School Risk Institute (http://www.schoolrisk.org), an organization comprised of risk managers that represent more than 1,300 school districts, recently recognized EthicsEd as a “recommended product.”
EthicsEd was written by Dr. Neal Trautman, Ph.D., author of “Preventing Sexual Misconduct and Abuse in Schools” and the Founder and Executive Director of the National Institute of Ethics. It is endorsed by the Stop Educator Sexual Abuse, Misconduct and Exploitation (SESAME) organization.
“MicroAssist should be commended for undertaking this project, which will immediately start preventing a lifetime of pain for countless individuals. Students are being preyed upon by a small percentage of school employees – employees who may not know better,” added SESAME’s Miller.
MicroAssist’s Preventing Sexual Misconduct and Abuse in Schools course helps administrators address this problem with topics including:
• Victim and offender profiles
• Early warning signs of abuse
• Grooming techniques used by offenders
• Legal obligations to report suspected misconduct
• The culture of silence and other reporting barriers
• School policies
From a legal perspective, EthicsEd provides schools with a Learning Management System that allows administrators to monitor employee completion and maintain records, providing protection if sexual misconduct occurs in spite of the proactive e-learning solution.