Schools are supposed to be safe places for Pennsylvania children. However, news reports often feature stories about assault that takes places in educational facilities. From schoolyard beatings to outright sexual assault, how can the state and even the nation better deal with these harmful and unacceptable behaviors?
No one wants schools to become prisons for youths, but perhaps inadequate security does play a role in these incidents. Reportedly, an 18-year-old senior sexually assaulted another student in a Pennsylvania high school auditorium. Even more disturbing, the auditorium was not empty at the time of the assault; other students were present but reportedly did not hear the girl crying.
The incident took place last October but the authorities did not learn of the assault until February when the alleged perpetrator called a crisis hotline. The young man allegedly threatened to kill the girl, himself and “others at school” during the 64-minute phone call. The police obtained a warrant giving them access to a full report of the call. The man is facing criminal charges including statutory sexual assault and making terroristic threats. He is no longer a student at the school.
The news report does not mention inadequate security, but it makes sense to consider it as a contributing factor. If appropriate adult supervision had been in place, there is a good chance that this assault could have been prevented. A 100 percent effective solution to keeping children safe at school is yet to be found. However, parents could assist in this important goal by seeking a legal remedy for school violence whenever it is possible.