Archive for the ‘Children’s Rights’ Category

I thought it was about time that we honor those children that don’t fall into the typical mainstream of children.  We frequently see stories of children that are heroes, or even children that have a significant athletic accomplishments or have reached the honor roll in school.  How about those children who face health issues every day of their life?  How about those children that learn things in a different way?  Where is the celebration for them?

I have found that these children miss out on the acclamations from our society.  As an example, our school created a bi-monthly newsletter that goes over all of the achievements of each class group and also some achievements of specific students.  Not once have I seen the special education classrooms mentioned nor any of the children that attend special education.  I actually reached out to the school and asked them why.  The response was, “there are some parents that don’t want it stated publicly that their child is in special education or that their 8th grade child is reading at a second grade level.”

I will admit I was a little shocked by this excuse.  There is no reason why they couldn’t write about this group of children and their teachers without mentioning names or their specific “abilities.”  It almost felt like they were ashamed, or that the topic needed to be hidden.  This is the most idiotic situation I have ever heard of.  I now see one of the reasons why our educational system is so broken.  The school personnel, who are supposed to have expertise in education and be intelligent themselves, can’t find a way to celebrate the accomplishments of those children that need extra help in their day-to-day classes.  It’s pitiful, and the shame should be on them.

I take it very seriously that my child has access to the same benefits as any other child in the school.  We have experienced on numerous occasions where my son was excluded from field trips, because they wouldn’t provide an assistant to make it possible for him to go.  Instead, they ask if I would go, which is not always possible.  I suspect this situation is actually against the law.

Though this newsletter topic is minor, the school has chosen to exclude special education children from its contents and the celebration that it represents.  If the school can’t properly publish a newsletter that is treated in an “inclusion” perspective, what makes me think they can handle the basic “inclusion” aspect of day-to-day education?  I suspect they can’t.

Each of us need to take the time to applaud the accomplishments of our children . . . all children, regardless of their disabilities.

See the article at:

http://hudson-wi.patch.com/articles/hudson-patch-whiz-kid-jamal-opara

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Bullying is a serious issue.  It happens with all age groups.  It happens in all communities.  White, brown.  Rich, poor.  Public schools, private schools.  Girls and boys.  It has also been happening for many years and has not been taken seriously.  Now we have children dying because of it.  We can no longer turn our back to it.  We can no longer be quiet about it.

 For the purpose of addressing the bullies it has been recommended in the school system that the schools: 

  • Increase supervision is inadequate in unstructured locations, such as the school  bus
  • Ensure there are consequences for bullying
  • Have the perpetrator have conferences with a counselor
  • Have the perpetrator have a conference with administrator
  • Notify the parents of the incident, both from the perpetrator perspective and the victim
  • Establish a disciplinary write-up which includes parent contact
  • Escalate to the law enforcement officials.

For the purpose of addressing the victims it has been recommended creating a program to help children prevent assaults and other victimization.  These programs typically include:

  • Helping children identify dangerous situations;
  • Teaching children techniques for evading these situations, such as saying ‘no,’ yelling and screaming, and running away;
  • Encouraging children to tell an adult about the incident;
  • And assuring the child that the incident is not his/her fault.

Children Against Children Research Center (CCRC) researchers have investigated the efficacy of such programs. Among the findings:

  • Children appear to acquire the concepts that are being taught in these programs.
  • Children involved in school-based prevention programs were more likely to use the school-taught self-protection strategies when victimized or threatened; were more likely to feel they were successful in protecting themselves; and were more likely to disclose to someone about the victimization attempts.
  • Children in school-based prevention programs were not able to lessen the seriousness of assaults and, in fact, received more injuries in sexual assaults.

It doesn’t surprise me that the students understood the concept of the bullying program and perhaps improved the reporting of the occurrences.  I don’t believe that it is true that the students were more likely to use self-protection strategies.  Once again the burden is on the child.  The child realizes there are repercussions with these strategies, and who is going to be there when they don’t work.  Remember the same strategies are being taught to the victims and the perpetrators.  And finally as it states above, there has not been an improvement in the seriousness of the assaults.

I don’t have the all of the answers, but I think there needs to be zero tolerance for acts of bullying, whether that be teasing, harassment, or bullying.  I don’t care what you call it.  All I know is it is detrimental.  Zero tolerance means immediate consequences.  What do we do in the adult world.  If an individual assaults another person, and it has been proven to be true by the legal system, the perpetrator losing his rights.  Why are we not doing the same with children?  I really don’t see how any of the tactics described above are going to “change” the bully, and ensure that it is changed. 

The only thing I suggest is that everyone needs to be much more observant.  When an incident occurs or is suspicious it should be seriously investigated and addressed.  The only way a bully will change his actions is if he knows what the consequences are, and the consequences are severe enough that would dissuade the bully from continuing with this deviant behavior.  There should no longer be a private enforcement of consequences.  How many times have you heard through the grapevine that so and so got detention, or so and so was sent home, or so and so had their parents brought into school?  When a bully makes the decision to harm others  he has taken a public stand, and he has lost the right for privacy.  Make it public.  Set an example.  These kids need to know what fear is. 

As for the victims, once again we need to be observant.  When an incident arises, whether the victim reports it or other students, the situation needs to be addressed.  Immediately.  All of the students, both victim and perpetrator should recognize that it is being addressed.  Once students recognize that the adults are truly taking care of the situation, including protecting the victim, they will be more likely to report such incidents.  And finally, no child should be taught that they need to deal with peer issues all by themselves.  This is too much for a victim of bullying to be responsible for.  Children do not have the ability to judge what they should do.  This action alone is a punishment to the victim.  You may say, but that is going to require judgement, and who is going to be responsible for that?  Well right now we are making the victim be responsible for the judgement, and this wrong.  We need to quit punishing the victim, and start punishing the bully.  .  As an adult I have this right, then so should our children. 

Sources: 

Olweus, D. (2001). Peer harassment: A critical analysis and some important issues. In J. Juvonen & S. Graham (Eds.), Peer harassment in schools: The plight of the vulnerable and the victimized. New York: The Guilford Press.

Related Posts:

Teasing . . . another form of bullying

Bullies and their victims . . .

As you may know, bullying has been a hot topic lately.  Most schools have included the topic in their curriculum and it has been a big headline in the news.  The View did an interview with a boy and his family that had been recently bullied.  I did a search on Google for bullying and suicide related news.  The list of news articles about kids that had committed suicide due to being bullied was endless.  Take a look at a few of the articles.  The stories are pretty much the same over and over again.

Teen bullying victim tells ‘The View’ why he thinks he was attacked

Family: Bullying Cause Of Slippery Rock Teen’s Suicide – News

Bullying -> Depression -> Suicide -> Jared’s Story

Teen suicide after bullying – Quincy, MA – The Patriot Ledger

Lance Lundsten, Tiffani Maxwell Commit Suicide After Reported Bullying

Teen Bullying Leads to Suicide – CBS News Video

Truth Wins Out – Another Bullying-Related Suicide in Minnesota

I really don’t understand why this has become a hot topic.  It is true that the suicides are an awful event, but bullying is not a new phenomenon.  It has been going on for ages, and it has been ignored for ages.  The link between bullying and school violence has increased attention since the 1999 rampage at Colorado’s Columbine High School.  The sad thing about most of these stories is that other people (students and teachers) knew about the bullying situation and knew of a change in behavior of the kids that were being bullied.

So I ask myself why do people bully, and here are some of the reasons I came up with:

  • The bullying incidents are not reported or observed.  Therefore no one can take action on the incident.
  • Many times victims will not admit bullying occurred because they fear retaliation which would make the situation worse.
  • Sometimes victims will not report incidents because they are ashamed.  It is not easy to admit that you are weaker.
  • Sometimes bullying continues with witnesses, but the bystanders are uncertain about how to intervene.
  • Other students don’t report the event because they fear the bullying will turn to themselves and then they too will become a victim.
  • Probably the worst situation is when students continue to bully because they know that an adult observed the bullying incident and didn’t do anything about it.
  • The bully has not paid for any consequence for his behavior.

While I was reading some of the news articles about real life events of children being bullied, there was one characteristic that was common.  The bullying was not a one time event.  It appears that once bullying starts, it continues to recur.  Take a look at some of these articles:

Bullying lawsuits Florida: Parents go to court to stop bullying

Bullied student case heads to Ohio Supreme Court – morningjournal.com

Mom says Springfield boy, 11, who committed suicide was repeatedly

Parents tell Hellgate board bullying of special needs students

So I ask my self why is bullying an offense that occurs over and over again to the same victim.  Here are some of the reasons that I could come up with to explain this situation:

  • The bullying incidents are not reported or observed.  Therefore no one can take action on the incident.
  • Many times victims will not admit bullying occurred because they fear retaliation which would make the situation worse.
  • Sometimes victims will not report incidents because they are ashamed.  It is not easy to admit that you are weaker.
  • Sometimes bullying continues with witnesses, but the bystanders are uncertain about how to intervene.
  • Other students don’t report the event because they fear the bullying will turn to themselves and then they too will become a victim.
  • Probably the worst situation is when students continue to bully because they know that an adult observed the bullying incident and didn’t do anything about it.
  • The bully has not paid for any consequence for his behavior.
I don’t think bullying is a big secret.  I can, to this day, name the people who I went to school with or rode the bus with who were bullies and who were victims to bullies.  The bus was a notorious place for bullies to pull their stunts.  It occurred day after day, and usually the bus driver was aware of it, and did nothing about it.  The only time the bus driver intervened is if it became a physical fight.
 
I can remember an incident that occurred, probably when I was in the 7th grade and it occurred on the bus.  This bus had kids from all age groups, including elementary kids and high school kids.  There was a group of individuals on the bus that “ruled” the bus, and every day you prayed that they didn’t notice you.  You never knew what would happen if you were in the spotlight of these bullies.  They could bully you over the littlest thing or for nothing.  It was known that once you were bullied you would always be bullied, or at least until the bullies graduated from school or dropped out.
 

The one incident that sticks out in my mind was between several highschool kids and another high school boy.  The group consisted of  bullies that were both girls and boys.  The only difference was the girls bullying consisted of taunts, and the boys would taunt along with physical annoyances.  This will sound ridiculous, but the reason that this kid was bullied was because he wore a flat-top hair cut.  This was in the late 60s and early 70s which was a time way past the days of flat-tops.  Every day this poor kid put up with the taunting.  He usually stayed to himself and was very quiet.  One day one of the highschool boys put gum in his hair.  This was the last straw, and the taunting turned into some pushing and shouting.  Finally the bus reached the kids stop, and as he was getting off the bus he said to one of the other high school boys, “I’d call you a prick, but a prick is a man, and you are no man.”  I was kind of proud of him.  A little too dramatic but he stood up to them.  Unfortunately the sad thing was he never rode the bus again.  I have no idea what happened to the kid with the flat top.  I think the bullies had won.

The internet is full of statistics, but none of them are consistent.  The percent of individuals that report they have had involvement in bullying ranges from 80% to 30%.  Based on studies boys are more likely to conduct physical bullying, and girls are most likely involved with social bullying, such as exclusion.  The studies also say the bullies typically have a quality in themselves that is lacking, such as behavioral, emotional or learning problems.  It is also common that their parents used physical discipline.  On the contrary, the victim of bullying experience higher rates of loneliness, depression, school avoidance and thoughts of suicide. 

 So what do we do about it? I understand we have to address the bullies, but we also need to put some focus on the victims.

To be continued . . .

Source: 

Olweus, D. (2001). Peer harassment: A critical analysis and some important issues. In J. Juvonen & S. Graham (Eds.), Peer harassment in schools: The plight of the vulnerable and the victimized. New York: The Guilford Press.

Related posts:

Teasing . . . another form of bullying

One of the things I firmly believe in is that children are the treasures of our society.  When they are young, and uncorrupted by society, they are pure in heart and a blessing to us all.  They are a true representation of goodness and purity.  Even more important, they are our future.  Unfortunately sometimes our society does not treat them as “treasures,” and sometimes they have less rights than adults.  

I like you, you like me . . . not necessarily

Schools try to give this impression to the students that everybody likes everybody, and everyone should get along.  I am sure all of you heard this when your child was in kindergarten, “He plays so well with the other children.”  It really sends confusing messages to the child. It is not realistic to like all people.  If a child is taught that you should like everyone, what happens when a real life situation happens when he doesn’t like someone?  He begins to question himself and possibly thinking he is a bad person and in the wrong. 

In my home it is okay to not like someone.  The key is how you behave around this person.  I tell my son to take the high road.  Don’t initiate interaction with the individual if you don’t like him. If the individual tries to interact with you, respond curtly,  but pleasant, and with a dismissive tone.  Above all he should treat them as he would want them to treat himself.  I realize that this is easier said than done.  But it has to be much better than thinking you should be liking everyone, and if you don’t there must be something wrong with you.

Last year my son had a teacher that punished him for not saying hi to one of his classmates as he entered the classroom.   He didn’t omit the kid from his salutation.  He didn’t say a salutation to anyone.   My son did not care for the individual because of the boy’s behavior in the classroom.  In addition the classroom was not a pleasant experience for my son.  So my son did not feel like saying hi. I really don’t see anything wrong with that.  He wasn’t being disrespectful.  He didn’t break any school rules.  He did not have to fake a feeling when it wasn’t genuine.

You are on your own

When a child is having a social problem with a peer, the school teaches them to first try to take care of it themselves.  At school the child is supposed to be in a “safe” environment and the adults who are supposed to be making sure he is safe basically abandons him.  The second thing the school teach the students is, if they can’t resolve the issue themselves, they are supposed to tell an adult.  Are children really able to evaluate when to escalate a situation to an adult?  I doubt it.  

I know children struggle with this responsiblity.  My son did.  Children are also aware that there may be repercussions for telling an adult.  It could easily turn into a “he said, she said” situation, and then he is treated just as guilty as the perpetrator.  Children avoid this situation because there is a possibility of it being turned against themselves. Or even worse they could be accused of tattle-tailing. This accusation can come from his peers or sometimes even the “adult,”  and the child usually ends up being ostracized.  

So what if this is a bullying situation?   How do you think children that are being bullied are handling this? View it from the perspective of the child based on what he has been taught in school:

  • Everyone should like everyone
  • Everyone gets along with everyone
  • Don’t hit other children
  • Be cordial all the time, even if it is fake
  • Handle the situation yourself
  • Telling an adult may turn into a “he said, she said” situation
  • Telling an adult may turn into an accusation of being a tattle-taler from his peers or the adult
  • There may not be consequences for the offender, and the bullying will continue or get worse.

Is teasing really just ‘kidding’ around?  Do we really expect a child to handle being teased?  Some view this as less of an offensive than bullying activities.  Seems to me it is a form of bullying and can have dire consequences.  What do you think happens to a child’s self-esteem when he is being teased repeatedly?  What happens when the situation is dismissed by an adult?  Who does the child turn to for help?

Several years ago, my son was attending a preschool.  It was our intention to continue in this private school for kindergarten.  It had a good reputation, and seemed to be a better first step for starting school.  We were one of the few that had been awarded acceptance. 

The summer before kindergarten my son was switched to a new room and teacher.  Shortly after being transferred in the room, my son began showing hints that he was not happy at school, and each day was dreading to be dropped off.   I talked to the teacher and she pointed out that my son was new in the classroom and my son needed a little time to adjust.  She told me that there was a group of  five boys that had already been in the room for some time and they were a tight clique.  She even referenced to these five boys as the “gang” of boys. 

I decided to give it a little bit more time, but within a couple of weeks I could tell my son’s anxiety was increasing.  It was obvious the situation was not getting better.  I talked with him about it and he said the boys wouldn’t let him play with them and kept teasing him.  I told him to give it time.  He was new, and I’m sure it will change.

Well, it didn’t change.  Within a short time one of the teachers pulled my aside to talk to me and she said that she thought I should know that my son may be a little upset because the boys were teasing him about the color of his skin.  She said the boys were saying that my son’s skin turned brown because he drank chocolate milk.  I was a little shocked to hear this.  She also said she thought it was important for me to know this.  She obviously was concerned about the circumstances.

Now you may say I am an over-protective mother.  Maybe.  But I know what it is like to be teased, and I sure as hell was not going to let some six-year olds pick on my son because of his skin color.  My son had been going through a number of health issues and he was quite traumatized by some of it.  I really didn’t want another aspect of his life to be  difficult.  The kid needed a break.

The next day I did not take my son to the school until I had this situation corrected.  Instead, I scheduled to meet with the director of the school.  In our meeting I explained what the teacher told me about the teasing and asked the director if she had any suggestions for how to handle this.  Her suggestion was she was going to talk to each of the parents.  She also had the same reaction to the chocolate milk reference as I did.  I told her that I would like to help get this turned around.  I offered to buy and donate some books for the class regarding diversity.  I even offered to bring in a speaker that could talk about the subject with the kids.  She was very cooperative and very much in agreement with this. 

The next day I got a phone call from the director requesting that we meet again.  She said that she discussed this issue with the teacher of my son’s classroom and they came to the conclusion that this was not serious.  It was just plain old teasing.  She pointed out that there is another girl in the classroom that was African-American, and she was not being teased.  I was a little caught off guard when she concluded that we didn’t have an issue. 

I told her that I was not sure why they would pick on my son and not the little girl.  Perhaps it was because boys play with boys, and girls play with girls.  Or perhaps it was because my son had brown skin, and he has a mother who picks him up every day that is caucasian which drew attention to the situation.  In the end, I said it is irrelevant.  Teasing is teasing.  My son is being teased and I want it stopped. 

I asked the director if she was going to talk to the boys’ parents, and she said no.  I asked her if she realized that this behavior is a learned behavior.  She responded by saying that these children come from respectful and nurturing homes and she found that highly unlikely. 

I looked at her and realized I was not going to get anywhere with her.  She was just plain ignorant.  I turned to her and said, “I am pulling my son from the school.  I don’t want him to be in an environment that he does not feel wanted or safe.”  She said that it was my choice but I had to give her two week’s notice, as it is stated in our contract.  I looked at her and said, “You have got to be kidding.  I am taking my son home.  He will not be back.  He will also not be attending kindergarten at your school.  And since you have refused to resolve this issue, I am not paying for the two weeks.  It appears to me you are also a part of the problem.”  She responded, “You have to pay for the two weeks.  It is in your contract.”  My response was, “I’m not paying.  Sue me.”  And I headed out the door. 

Now I know this may sound like an insignificant event, but I wanted my child to know that his mother is there to protect him.  He could come to me anytime and we would get the issue resolved.  I also wanted him to know that he did not have to put up with situations such as this, and you had a right confront individuals involved.

I also wondered to myself, what lesson this “gang” of boys had learned.  It is okay to pick on someone.  It is okay to treat someone differently because of their skin color.  Since the adults around them did not take an action, it is okay to continue with this type of behavior.  In the end I was thankful that we left the school. 

To be continued . . .

This post is a continuation of a previous post called  The laws for our children . . .   If you haven’t already read it, take a look.

For the purpose of supporting all of the laws for the crimes against children that I listed in the previous post, the United States has the following number of courts and infrastructure that is responsible for adjudicating legal disputes and dispense justice in accordance with the law.  (It is understandable that the courts in the United States are not just dealing with criminal acts against children.)  Besides the courts there are also  800,000 law enforcement personnel in the U.S.

94      US District Courts (trial courts)
1        Court of International Trade (trial court)
13      US Courts of Appeals Circuit Courts (intermediate appellate courts)
1        Supreme Court of the United States (final appellate court)
1        US Court of Federal Claims
1        US Tax Court (19 judges, traveling)
94     US Bankruptcy Courts
1        US Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims
1        US Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces 
1        United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court 
51     state supreme courts
2,992      county courts
16        borough courts in Alaska
64       parishes with courts in Louisiana

 
In addition there are numerous agencies, organizations, hotlines, and departments that exist purely for protecting or assisting children.  Below is a list, but I am sure there are many organizations that have been missed.
     
ALAS Foundation   Irish Children’s Fund
Action for Children   Key Bible Club
Action for Healthy Kids   Kids Help Phone
Alliance for Childhood   Kindernothilfe
Alliance for Children and Families   Komitee Twee of the Netherlands
AmberWatch Foundation   Lawyers For Children
America’s Promise   Living Dreams
American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry   MaliVai Washington Kids Foundation
American Civil Liberties Union   Massachusetts Citizens for Children (MCC)
Amnesty International   Megan Nicole Kanka Foundation
Anti-Defamation League   Mikindani Center of HOPE
Association on American Indian Affairs   Millennium Kids
Big Brothers Big Sisters of America   NAACP
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada   Naked Heart Foundation
B’nai B’rith International   National Black Child Developmental Institute
Block Parent Program   The National Children’s Alliance 
Boys & Girls Town National Hotline   National Domestic Violence Hotline
Canadian Feed The Children   National Junior Honor Society
Canadian Mothercraft Society   National Runaway Switchboard
The Carter Center   National Safe Place
Center for Constitutional Rights   National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
User:Captain Nikomus/Sandbox   National Teen Dating Abuse Hotline 
Center on Media and Child Health   Neighbor To Family, Inc.
Child advocacy   Nepal Youth Foundation
Child advocacy 360   Oklahoma Baptist Homes for Children
Child Alert Foundation   Orphans International
Child Care Policy Research Consortium   Otis Smith Kids Foundation
Child Find Ontario   Our Kids Our Future
Child Foundation   PKIDs
Child Health and Nutrition Research Initiative   David and Lucile Packard Foundation
Child Helpline International   Parents Anonymous
Child Life Council   Pebbles Project
Child Welfare League of America   Plan Canada
Childhelp USA    Polly Klaas Foundation
Childhope Asia Philippines   Primary (LDS Church)
Childline India Foundation   Put Kids First
Children & Nature Network   Rädda Barnen
Children Parliament Pakistan   Prevent Child Abuse America
Children care international   Preventing Child Sexual Abuse Within Youth-Serving Organizations
Children of Vietnam   Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN)
Children’s Aid Society   Ramifications
Children’s Aid Society (Canada)   Renfrew County Child Poverty Action Network
Children’s Defense Fund   The Resource Foundation
Children’s Express   Right To Play
Children’s Heart Foundation   Rostropovich-Vishnevskaya Foundation
Children’s Hunger Fund   Rugmark
Children’s Rights Council   SOS Children’s Villages – Canada
Christina Noble Children’s Foundation   Santa in the City
Coalition to Stop Gun Violence   Serving Charity
Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers   Society for Research in Child Development
Committee for Missing Children   Stand for Children
Comenius Foundation for Child Development   Street Kids International
Concerned Children’s Advertisers   Students Helping Honduras
Covenant House Nineline   Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
Court Appointed Special Advocates   Taruntirtha
Darkness to Light   Tender Wishes Foundation
Doctors of the World   The Hands and Feet Project
Dream House For Medically Fragile Children   The Heckscher Foundation for Children
Dreams Come True (non-profit)   The Memory Project
Early Childhood Australia   The Nurturing Network
Family Justice League   Tiny Hands International
Family Violence Prevention Fund   TreeHouse
Feed The Children   UNICEF Philippines
Feminist Majority Foundation    UNICEF UK
First Focus   Udayan Care
Friends of the Orphans   UNICEF
The Future of Children   Unicef Indonesia
The Global Fund for Children   University Child Development Center
Generation FIVE   Vietnam Children’s Fund
Guru Gobind Singh Children’s Foundation   Vietnam Friendship Village
Happy Hearts Fund   Visayan Forum Foundation
Harold E. Jones Child Study Center   Voices for America’s Children
Healthy Child Healthy India   Women’s Refugee Commission
Hot Peach Pages   World Summit for Children
Human Rights Watch   World Vision
Hide ‘N Seek Children’s Foundation   Worldwide Faith Missions
International Breast Milk Project   Yale Child Study Center
International Kids Fund   Young Lives
Iowa Child Welfare Research Station   Youth Assisting Youth
    Youth Service America

 

[Big Sigh!  Finally to my point.]  So I am sure there is a little curiosity about why this post is including these numerous lists.   For one thing, the lists serve as a resource list.  You are welcome to use it for that purpose.   For me the real reason for showing these lists is to present to you the magnitude of infrastructure that is in place for the protection of children.  Yet why are we seeing the headlines in the news of molestation, abduction, abuse, or pornography, to name a few?  Recently I was watching the news and there was a story about a child that was missing.  The story said there were over 800,000 children missing in the United States.  I was shocked to hear how big the number was.  The following are some statistics that we need to pay attention to:

  • 800,000 children younger than 18 are missing each year
  • 2,000 children are reported missing each day.
  • 200,000 children were abducted by family members.
  • 58,000 children were abducted by nonfamily members
  • 115 children were the victims of “stereotypical” kidnapping.
  • According to a 1997 study, Case Management for Missing Children Homicide Investigation, the murder of an abducted child is a rare event but,  an estimated 100 such incidents occur in the United States each year.
  • During Federal fiscal year 2007, an estimated 3.2 million referrals, involving the alleged maltreatment of approximately 5.8 million children, were referred to CPS agencies.
  • An estimated 1,760 children died due to child abuse or neglect
  •  771,700 children were victims of neglect
  • A report of child abuse is made every ten seconds.
  • Almost five children die everyday as a result of child abuse. More than three out of four are under the age of 4.
  • It is estimated that between 60-85% of child fatalities due to maltreatment are not recorded as such on death certificates.

If these number don’t shock you then let’s talk about dollars.  The estimated annual cost of child abuse and neglect in the United States for 2007 was $104 billion.

This is my concern.  We have laws to protect children and to punish the  perpetrators of sexual abuse, abduction, assault, murder, molestation, etc.  The United States has an intricate court system for ensuring that laws are abided by and if they are not then the perpetrators are given a punishment.  We also have numerous law enforcement individuals that protect the children and catch the perpetrators, so that the court system can identify the offense, determine if they are guilty, and provide a punishment.  And finally we have many public and private organizations who have identified we have a problem and they have made it their goal to help the children that are victims.

My point is, with this whole infrastructure that is in place, how is it that crimes against children continue day after day?  It is my belief there is nothing worse than hurting a child.  Children represent purity and hope.  They bring joy to the world.  They are our future.  Yet, we are obviously not addressing the issues correctly.  I feel like the infrastructure is just putting a band-aid on an open wound, and the wound is spewing blood, which represents the harm being done to all of these children.

I don’t have all of the answers, but I do know that the current system is not working and is very reactionary versus being proactive.  I believe we need to work proactively to prevent these atrocities from happening to our children.   

This country hates the word “profiling,” but I think this is one of the steps we need to do to prevent these crimes from occurring.  Perhaps, profiling should be on both the perpetrator and the victim.  This country needs to do everything it can to protect the children. 

Our country is paying billions of dollars chasing terrorists all around the world.  I think we need to put a similar plan within our own country.  These criminals are terrorists to our children.  They exist within the boundaries of our country, within the jurisdiction of the law, and live in the houses in our neighborhoods.  I challenge you to be a part of the change.  Save our children.  Become more aware of how much this criminal activity exists.  Contact your congressmen and ask them to invest in our future and our children by making it a priority to eliminate the terrorists of our children.  Encourage them to create a task force to identify other methods of preventing these crimes against the children.  If you are able, volunteer some time to help an organization that strives to help children.  And probably most importantly, pay attention to the people in your neighborhood or your community.  These criminals live there.  And more importantly pay attention to the children.  Listen to them.  They need our help to be safe.  They need our help to remain children.