Child abuse in schools is becoming a major problem in New Jersey, and we must do something about it. In 1998, there were about 3 abuse-related deaths every day, and now, this number has increased to more than 5 deaths per day (childhelp.org). We have created a few possible solutions to this problem, and when put in place, these public policies could decrease the number of children abused in school. Currently, there have been many serious reports of child abuse in schools. For example, recordings show Mike Rice, the basketball coach of Rutgers, shoving his players and chucking basketballs repeatedly at his players from close range (Huffington Post). Additionally, David Eidel, a computer teacher in Union County, abused several students (nj.com). Another teacher lifted an 11-year-old above his head and then slammed the student face-first to the floor (dispatch.com). “It's difficult to believe, but there are no federal laws to prevent this from happening,” said U.S. Representatives George Miller and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (cnn.com). Child abuse like this needs to be put to an end by adding more laws to prevent child abuse and making the existing one stricter. Additionally, children could begin learning about child abuse from an early age on television shows they enjoy watching such as Sesame Street, and then get more information when they begin health class in school. This would allow children to recognize child abuse and understand that it is unacceptable and must be reported.
First of all, children and teens everywhere are supposed to speak up whenever they witness child abuse. According to law 9:6-8.10, any person who knowingly fails to report suspected abuse or neglect or to comply with the provisions of the law is a disorderly person (nj.gov). Sadly this is the only law regarding this serious crime. If there were stricter laws and consequences, child abuse would be less likely. For example, if you see child abuse but don't report it, there should be more severe consequences such as jail time. Another possible law could require New Jersey schools to have two assemblies per year regarding child abuse in schools so that kids learn about this difficult subject. If students attend one assembly about child abuse in schools at the beginning of the year and one towards the end, they will never forget what child abuse is, allowing students to recognize it when it happens and then take action when they see it. Another law should require that health classes in New Jersey teach children about child abuse taken place in schools. We learn so much about drugs, alcohol, etc. However, we never address child abuse, which is a similarly important topic. A disadvantage to this policy is that many people will still break the law. Even if more strict laws are made, some people still won't abide by them. With making new laws the person who is writing it might not have it at the top of their priority which could cause controversy. Clearly, we need to make more strict laws regarding child abuse in schools as well as create new ones such as the ones stated above.
Additionally, at a young age, it is important to be informed about the things around you. Many children don’t know the basics about child abuse in schools even though they should. Instead of always running commercials, children's shows should broadcast public service announcements by their favorite characters about the dangers of child abuse in schools. Using their favorite characters to explain the issues will draw kids’ attention towards the screen and help them learn. Knowing about the crime will help them recognize child abuse if they are to ever see it. If young students were to witness child abuse at school, you would want them to speak up. However, the students will only realize what is happening if they have learned about it already. The short clips that would be shown should be played on younger audience channels such as Sprout, abc kids, PBS, and so on. They are watched by children ages 10 and below, so when the children grow up, they will be well informed about what child abuse is and how to handle it. A con would be that many parents wouldn't want their children to learn about this harsh topic at such a young age. This could also cause controversy for childrens’ television shows. But, it is still very important that children start learning about child abuse from an early age, so when they get older, they can continue to add to their knowledge of child abuse in schools.
Lastly, a possible solution to child abuse in schools involving teachers and coaches is to not only inform little children when they’re very little watching television but to continue teaching them in school, specifically in health class. Children should know how to respond to physical or verbal abuse coming from teachers or coaches when it is happening to their peers or themselves. Currently, there are no requirements for health teachers to teach students about child abuse in schools according to New Jersey Health and Physical Standards even though this is a heated topic today (NJ State Curriculum). There is a section about sportsmanship, rules, and safety, but it only mentions the kids being good sports. There is nothing about coaches abusing their players, and because this is happening more frequently, it is vital that a section about this be added. It is also important for health teachers to be required to teach students about abuse within the school. This does happen, and students need to know what to do if it is happening to them. Some children who are being abused believe it is normal and some even think it is their own fault. Obviously, this is not the case, and students must know this. Students should know to tell a trusted adult such as their parents if they are being abused in school. This will stop so much abuse in schools because if teachers and coaches know they will get turned in and be held accountable, they will face a strong deterrent. There is a law stating that if you witness child abuse, you must report it, and children need to know this law. This way, they can abide by the law and end child abuse not only at home, but in schools as well (nj.gov). On the other hand, some teachers and school officials won’t approve of health teachers teaching students about abuse in schools because it relates to them. This would cause conflict because other teachers wouldn't be happy with the health teachers for teaching about abuse in schools.
As you can see, child abuse has become a major problem in our society. Child abuse leads to deeper problems as children grow, and a recent study shows that 80% of young adults who have been abused as a child now have at least one psychiatric disorder (safehorizon.org). Making new laws, creating commercials and clips on television shows for younger children about child abuse in schools, and adding child abuse lessons to our curriculum in our health classes are all possible ways to end child abuse in schools. The only present law against child abuse isn’t strong enough to end this problem, and once all children are informed about child abuse in schools, they will have a better understanding of what it is and how to stop it. To conclude, doing all of the above will decrease the amount of child abuse in schools and help raise awareness. Currently, April is Child Abuse Prevention Month (philadelphia.cbslocal.com), but together, we should strive to make it every month!
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