The Archdiocese of Boston is implementing a mandatory program in parochial schools on sex abuse. The program, developed by an outside company, is called “Talking about Touching.” Parents were told that, in addition to being mandatory, the program must be held during school hours and will take place during religion class. (Using religion class time for that seems just a little perverse.)
“Talking About Touching” will be taught to K-4 this year and expand to grade 8. Teachers will go thru a 3-day training program and teach the children this program for 15 weeks. This will happen right after February vacation. Teachers will use puppets and photo cards to elicit any kind of response or reaction from children. Suspicious disclosures will be reported to the Principal, the Dept of Social Services, and finally the parent. Content covered will include sexuality, safe and not safe touches, physical touches, etc.
As one parent reports:
Parents were informed of this program and were given the opportunity to ask Q & A at one of three parent night meetings in their local community parishes. Parents may opt out of the program, but must work with the individual school principal to find out where their child will go during that class time. Right now, there is no alternative. It was assumed that all parents would embrace this program.
Why wouldn’t a parent want their children to enter this program? For one thing, perhaps the parent wants to protect their children from both sexual abuse and too early exposure to sexual matters and has thus implemented a kind of program with the child at home. Also, remember the day care scandals of the mid-80s when children were “led” by pyschologists to reveal horrific instances of abuse that it turned out never really occurred?
The point is that such programs could cut parents out of the loop and it is not unheard of for there to be “false positives” and for parents to have their children ripped out of their homes by DSS based on a misunderstanding. It all boils down to responsibility. Who has ultimate responsibility for the welfare of children? Liberals and the educational-industrial complex would have you believe that the state does (and don’t be blinded by the fact that these are Catholic schools; there are big-government liberals there, too) and that this responsibility supercedes the rights of families.
I’m not saying that there shouldn’t be any kind of program in the schools, but I wonder if the right kind of program is being used. Besides, is it the best idea to make the children themselves the first line of defense, rather than concentrating on rooting out the guys who are going to be the problem?
A friend also makes the point that the bishops got such uniformly bad advice from psychologists in the treatment of pervert priests over the years and now they’re going back to the same psychological establishment for help in implementing a program to protect children from the pervert priests they let back into the community before. It’s not just the fox guarding the hen house, but the fox getting his own advocate to make sure the hen house stays unguarded.