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Sat, April 20

AP stats label me 'lucky'

I feel privileged.

I went to Catholic elementary and high schools.

In that time, I was never sexually abused by a priest or a teacher. It seems the odds were against me and I lucked out.

Two weeks ago, Associated Press reporters Martha Irvine and Robert Tanner released the findings of study concerning sexual misconduct by teachers in the United States.

From 2001 to 2005, more than 2,570 teachers - a quarter of all educator misconduct cases - had their credentials revoked, denied, voluntarily surrendered or limited for sexual misconduct.

It is necessary to point out the majority of cases involved public school teachers. According to AP, many private schools don't require a teaching license, and their disciplinary actions are not a matter of public record.

There are studies concerning the other side of my education. Around 4,400 of 110,000 priests were accused of molesting minors from 1950 through 2002, according to a review by America's Catholic bishops.

I would like to believe I wasn't the only lucky on; however, AP reported only about one in 10 victimized children report sexual abuse of any kind to someone who can do something about it.

Though there never was talk of anything actually happening, I know some of my high school counterparts - male and female - publicly expressed sexual attraction to teachers.

To achieve that goal would have been the equivalent of climbing Mount Everest for my male peers. Sure people have done it in the past, but they are a select few.

This notion is reinforced by popular culture from Van Halen's "Hot for Teacher" to a scene from the movie "Varsity Blues." It is a double standard that isn't often brought to the forefront due to the rarity of incidents.

Nearly nine out of 10 of the educators punished for sexual misconduct were male. Either way, I see how it puts educators in a tough situation.

With a significant number of their colleagues committing such heinous acts, violating the trust of their students and the community, all in the profession are cast in shadows.

Even I become suspicious when I see a student and teacher hug.

You'd hope students would know the pulse of the school. Mark that as another reason parents should be involved in the lives of their children - even if it's as simple as asking how their day was at school.


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