Posts Tagged ‘Children’s rights’

You may already know that I have a son who has several medical issues including Tourette Syndrome.  For the last four years we have sought some relief from the tics which have become more extreme over time.  Up to today we were working with our pediatrician, my son’s neurologist who takes care of his epilepsy, a clinic that uses non-traditional methods, and a neuropsychologist.

The neurologist hasn’t been convinced that all of the events my son has been having are tics.  There is some suspicion that they may be non epileptic seizures, or a combination of both tics and non epileptic seizures.  In pursuit of gaining some relief from these events,  he referred us to a neuropsychologist.  In addition he prescribed, at one time or another,  antihypertensive medications, which are medications whose original purpose is for treating high blood pressure.  The medications we tried included Clonidine (aka Catapres) and Tenex (aka Guanfacine).  Unfortunately the side effects can include sedation, dry mouth, fatigue, headaches and dizziness.  The sedation affect wiped out my son and we discontinued using them.

The non-traditional clinic we saw, which was a part of Children’s Hospital, worked with my son to learn bio feedback.  My son became really good at this.  Unfortunately it didn’t work well with his tics because he needed to do it before the tics started.  Once he is caught in a round of tics he can’t concentrate enough to do the bio feedback.  The key is to identify triggers and hopefully try the bio feedback when a trigger is recognized.  We still try to use this method today, not only for TS, but also when he has to take shots for his diabetes.  It is a great way to just calm down.

This non-traditional clinic also had a psychiatrist that specialized in vitamins, minerals and supplements.  At one time he recommended that my son take:

Omega 3 Fatty Acids
B-Complex
Probiotics
Multi vitamin
Vitamin D

We did this regime of supplements for about six months.  Initially I thought it was working.  We actually had two weeks where my son had no tics. We had not experienced this since the tics had started.  Unfortunately this happened just before another school year started.  Once school started the tics came back with full force.

We continued to work with the neuropsychologist.  She was focusing on:

    • Identifying triggers for tics
    • Identifying tools to use when having tics
    • Tools to prevent bouts of tics
    • Addressing his anxiety
    • Addressing his sensory food issues
It is now four years since the tics started and we really haven’t found any answers.  I believe my son has learned how to identify some of the triggers and tries to minimize their effect.  He has also started eating different foods, which is a huge accomplishment.  I think he would be able to deal with his tics better if he didn’t have to deal with other people and their reaction to the tics, especially in the school setting. School is stressful enough for him, but when he has peers making fun of him, or dealing with adults who are ignorant about Tourette Syndrome, it makes it even more stressful.  This last school year my son missed a lot of school.  The combination of his tics, diabetes and epilepsy was a lose, lose situation.  Due to all of these absences I went on a search for a new specialist for the Tourette Syndrome.  Meanwhile the neuropsychologist suggested that we try medications again and was recommending an anxiety medication, even though we tried this in the past with no positive effect.

Meanwhile the school is pressing me to identify something which would change the circumstances at school.  They acted like I had a miracle cure up my sleeve and refused to recognize they were the main reason his TS was worse.  So, against my judgement, I put my son on the anxiety medication.  It took me about a week to get a hold of my senses and I took him off again.  There was also a period of time where the school nurse was pushing me to get some type of medication that would take the edge off these long bouts of tics that my son had.  She kept sending me names of neurologists, none with any specific expertise, just names.  She acted as if we hadn’t already seen doctor after doctor.  I also have learned that you just don’t pick names out of a hat.  Finding the right doctor is not easy.  Once again, against my instinct, we went to a pediatrician and she prescribed Valium.  I came to my senses pretty quickly on this one and never used them.

As a note of explanation, I am not against these medications.  There are times and people where these medications are not only effective, but necessary.  In regard to my son, in the last nine years he has been on numerous medications for his epilepsy.  Scary medications.  From this experience, I learned that getting the right medication is pretty much a trial and error type of process.  My son was already on a medication for his epilepsy that is also used for anxiety.  It was a benzodiazepine, which works by decreasing abnormal electrical activity in the brain.  Since there were questions about what these events were, I just didn’t want to haphazardly add another anxiety medication on top of the medications he was already on.

It is so frustrating to have an educational system trying to push you toward a medical solution that may not be the best for your child.  I finally wrote a letter to the superintendent, principal, nurse and his teacher that we needed to find a different approach here.  Drugging my son was not the answer.  There are some things we need to accept.  The TS is here and we need to deal with it as it is.  I don’t have any miracles to make it go away.  In addition, it is a fact that with all of the health problems my son has he is going to miss school.  We needed to expect it and plan for it.  It was my intent to push them into a new approach in educating my son, perhaps even supplying a tutor to keep him on track with his class.  Guess what.  No one responded to my letter.  Finally at the end of the school year his teacher emailed and said she would set up a meeting before the end of the year.  I didn’t here from her again.  At that point I just wanted to get through the end of school.  I would deal with the school before school started again.

Earlier in the year I had started looking for a new doctor that may have some expertise and offer a different direction to deal with the tics.  I also wanted someone who would look at the whole picture.  A doctor  said to me when my son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes that it seems to be all related and is probably an autoimmune problem.  Keep in mind my son was dealing with epilepsy, Tourette Syndrome, (possibly nonepileptic seizures), Diabetes, an anxiety disorder, a little OCD, a little Aspergers, a little ADD,  and learning disabilities.  That is quite a bit for a 12-year-old boy.  I am very proud of him for dealing with it all.  I am not so sure I could do the same.  Up to now each of these medical issues were being addressed independently.

Anyway, I went on a hunt.  Thank goodness for the internet.  I noticed that if we were located on the east coast there would be more of a selection of doctors.  Even though we were near a large city, Minneapolis – St. Paul, there still did not seem to be any experts.  So I just started calling hospitals and clinics and requested recommendations.  Initially they weren’t much help.  After reaching out to 30 or more medical centers I called the University of Minnesota Hospital, and they suggested a doctor.  After contacting his office, I found that he had a waiting list and it would be five months before we could see him.  That in itself meant something to me.  It was obvious that people were seeing him.  It was either because there just weren’t that many specialists or he was really good.  I decided we would wait and we would find out.

Finally the five months passed by and it was the day for our appointment.

To be continued . . .

There are things happening in this country that do not add up.  There are heated debates that our educational system needs to be reformed.  Why?  The education system is doing a bad job and is locked into old ideas of how to educate children. That is why the United States ranks significantly lower than comparable countries.  For instance in math Finland is first, South Korea is second, and the United States is at an embarrassing 25th.  In science Finland is number one, and the United States if 21st.  Is there anything we do that ranks us higher than Finland?  Yes, it is the cost of education per child.  In the United States the cost for one child is $129,000 from K through 12. The other countries average $95,000. (Information provided: Other Nations Outclass U.S. on Education )

We are obviously not doing a good job, but there is a perspective that no one is talking about.  Keep in mind the statistics I quoted are in regard to children who are a part of mainstream education.  I ask, what does this picture look like when it comes to Special Education.  In my research, I could not find any specific articles that compared Special Education in the United States versus other countries.  In fact I could not find any articles that even talked about the quality of special education in the United States.

One good thing that recently occurred is the ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which is an international human rights instrument of the United Nations intended to protect the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities.  It was ratified March, 2011 with 147 signatories and 99 parties.  The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities instills a right to education.

The Convention states that persons with disabilities should be guaranteed the right to inclusive education at all levels, regardless of age, without discrimination and on the basis of equal opportunity.

State Parties should ensure that:

  1. children with disabilities are not excluded from free and compulsory primary education, or from secondary education;
  2. adults with disabilities have access to general tertiary education, vocational training, adult education and lifelong learning;
  3. persons with disabilities receive the necessary support, within the general education system, to facilitate their effective education; and
  4. effective individualized support measures are put in place to maximize academic and social development.

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities also supports protecting the integrity of the person.  Article 17 of the Convention states that every person with disabilities has a right to respect for his or her physical and mental integrity on an equal basis with others. (Information provided by:  Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities)

In the United States, as of 2006, almost 5 million students received special education.  The 5 million students were divided into the following categories:

Disability↓ Students↓ Percentage↓
Learning disability (LD) 2,710,476 44.6%
Speech or language impairment (SI) 1,160,904 19.1%
Other health impairment (OHI) 599,494 9.9%
Mental retardation (MR) (now known as Intellectually Disabled) 523,240 8.6%
Emotional disturbance (ED) 458,881 7.5%
Autism 224,594 3.7%
Multiple disabilities 134,189 2.2%
Developmental delay 83,931 1.4%
Hearing impairment (HI) 72,559 1.2%
Orthopedic impairment (OI) 61,866 1.0%
Visual impairment (VI) 26,352 0.4%
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) 23,932 0.4%
Deaf & blindness 1,472 0.0%

 

 If the United States is not doing a very good job with mainstream education, what do you think is happening in Special Education?  From personal experience, I can tell you that it is in even more trouble.  This country is truly talking the talk, but is not walking the walk.  These children are being navigated through our educational system with no real measurement of success or progress in educating children with disabilities.  Sometimes I feel that the goal in school is to lead these children through twelve years and the schools’ efforts are concentrated on the navigation aspect rather than the educational progress.

Keep in mind that this is 5 million children.  That is almost the same population of the entire state of Wisconsin, or Minnesota, or Maryland.  All but one city in the U.S. (New York) has smaller populations than the 5 million children in special education.  There are fewer people in Chicago, Los Angeles, Houston, and Denver than there are children in special education.  It seems to me that these children represent a large population in this country.  Are we supporting these children?  If we were, then why am I seeing the following headlines.  I also ask if our federal laws require districts to maintain the same level of special education spending from year to year, then why am I seeing blatant news headlines about cuts in programs for Special Education.  Something is seriously wrong.  It isn’t right, and this country needs to stop ignoring it. 

I encourage everyone in this country to scream in outrage and insist that this country invests in our children who are the future of this country.  Even more important, the education of all children, including the 5 million children in Special Education, have a right to a better education.  We are talking about the United State, which is one of the greatest countries in the world.  Don’t we want our children, all children, to be the best and the brightest?  Don’t we want to give all children the tools they will need to lead this country into the future?  I don’t think anyone can deny it needs to be a priority.  I ask everyone, please don’t be complacent about this topic.  Get emotional.  Get inspired.  Care.  Participate and take pride in the accomplishment.  Our children deserve it.

40 school employees face layoff or cuts

By: Meg Heaton, Hudson Star-Observer

The Hudson Board of Education approved staff cuts for the coming school year at a special meeting Tuesday night.  These positions include education assistants in math, reading, school libraries and special education made up of education assistants.

 

School budget cuts could mean layoffs

By: Meg Heaton, Hudson Star-Observer

Based on the proposed Wisconsin biennial budget, the Hudson School District could be facing a budget deficit of around $3.4 million dollars in the coming school year.

The reduction of educational assistants in special education, English as a second language, math and reading and media assistants; Elimination of the vision-impaired teacher services to be replaced through CESA 11;

Non-personnel reductions recommended included:

  • $165,000 from the elimination of special education out of district student placements.
  • $45,000 from reducing the purchase of textbooks, smart boards and other technology and materials.

 

Special education requirement could derail budget plans

By GINA DUWE ( Contact )   Wednesday, April 20, 2011
 

Federal rules require districts to maintain the same level of special education spending from year to year. 

ORFORDVILLE — School districts cutting employee wages and benefits fear they’ll be forced to buy things or hire people they don’t need to meet federal minimum-spending requirements, two area superintendents said.

Federal rules require districts to maintain the same level of special education spending from year to year. But in districts such as Parkview, all teachers—including special education teachers—are taking a pay cut next year and are beginning to contribute to their retirement and health insurance.

The result is less money going into special education, which could put the district in violation of the federal requirement.

If a district spent $100,000 on special education this year, for example, and salary and benefit cuts reduce the expense to $70,000 next year, the district would have to find a way to make up the $30,000 drop to keep spending $100,000 on special education, Zellmer said.

The  penalty for not meeting the requirement is to pay the amount of the spending reduction to the government,

This requirement states that states must ensure that current year funding for special education is not less than 90 percent of the funding level provided two fiscal years earlier.

 

Federal Economic Stimulus Package Update

 Q: How much IDEA money will be provided by the stimulus? A: The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) will get a $11.3 billion boost in funding over the next two years for students aged 6-21. This funding is in addition to the annual appropriation of $11.5 billion. For Wisconsin districts, the ARRA will mean an additional $208.4 million in IDEA funding.   Half of the IDEA stimulus allocation and half of the Title I stimulus allocation was released in early April with relatively few strings attached other than the rules and regulations that normally accompany these programs.  However, the U.S. Education Department is asking states to submit much more detailed information on how the plan to improve student learning before they can access their second round of funding, which is scheduled to be released in the fall.  States must explain how they will comply with transparency and accounting requirements, including:

  • improving teacher effectiveness and quality;
  • establishing longitudinal data systems that track progress and foster continuous improvement;
  • enhancing the quality of academic standards and assessments; and
  • providing targeted, intensive support and effective interventions for the lowest performing schools.

 

 

Special Note:  This article is in no way critisizing those teachers that have made it their life career to teaching children with special needs.  Their dedication to our children is valiant.  Unfortunately the educational system itself is not supporting them enough.

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

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.

This post is one of several discussing this subject.  You may also want to read  Crimes against children . . .

There are volumes of  laws and people and groups that exist for the purpose of helping children.  They include laws that define what is a crime against a child, laws for protecting children, and laws establishing punishment for crimes done to children. 

While looking into this subject, I wanted a definition of the “purpose of law,”  and relate it to the special circumstances with children and evaluate whether the laws are doing what they are intended to do.  Some of the summarized definitions of the purpose of the law are listed below:

  1. The laws defines what  is “harm to others” and determines if harm has occurred.  Harm may be in the form of violating a person’s life, liberty or property.
  2. Preventing an individual or group of people from seizing control without authority.
  3. The Law is a contract between people who are living within a society.  All people in the society must live by the rules of the law.  In return the individual benefits from the relationship with society.
  4. To ensure the laws created by the majority do not violate the rights of the individual, as guaranteed by the Constitution
  5. Punishments are defined by the law

The definitions are pretty broad, but should serve the purpose of this evaluation.  First of all children are citizens in this country and are protected by the same Constitution that protects adults.  Children should have protection of their life, freedom and property.    In this evaluation the law is supposed to prevent any individual or group  from taking control without authority over children. All citizens of society, whether they be adults or children, must live by the same rules of the law.  If an individual conforms to the laws then he can have the benefits from that society.  The laws are also there to ensure that the majority, such as adults, do not violate the rights of an individual, such as a children.  The law also includes the punishments for individuals or groups of individuals conducting crimes against children.

As I said earlier, the United States have many laws in place for the purpose of protecting children’s lives, freedom and property.  As it relates to the importance of law, Plato explained,  “Mankind must either give themselves a law and regulate their lives by it or live no better than the wildest of the wild beasts.”  The following are examples of the laws for one state  and some federal laws that relate to crimes against children:

State Laws

   
948.015 Other offenses against children.   948.53 Child unattended in child care vehicle.
948.02 Sexual assault of a child.   948.55 Leaving or storing a loaded firearm within the reach or easy access of a child.
948.025 Engaging in repeated acts of sexual assault of the same child.   948.60 Possession of a dangerous weapon by a person under 18.
948.03 Physical abuse of a child.   948.605 Gun-free school zones.
948.04 Causing mental harm to a child.   948.61 Dangerous weapons other than firearms on school premises.
948.05 Sexual exploitation of a child.   948.62 Receiving stolen property from a child.
948.051 Trafficking of a child.   948.63 Receiving property from a child.
948.055 Causing a child to view or listen to sexual activity.   948.70 Tattooing of children.
948.06 Incest with a child.  

Federal Laws

948.07 Child enticement.   Section 1073. Unlawful Flight to Avoid Prosecution (UFAP) or Giving Testimony
948.075 Use of a computer to facilitate a child sex crime.   Section 1201. Kidnapping
948.08 Soliciting a child for prostitution.   Section 1204. International Parental Kidnapping
948.085 Sexual assault of a child placed in substitute care.   Section 1462. Importation or Transportation of Obscene Matters
948.09 Sexual intercourse with a child age 16 or older.   Section 1465. Transportation of Obscene Matters for Sale or Distribution 
948.095 Sexual assault of a child by a school staff person or a person who works or volunteers with children.   Section 1466. Engaging in the Business of Selling or Transferring Obscene Matter 
948.10 Exposing genitals or pubic area.   Section 1467(a). Criminal Forfeiture 
948.11 Exposing a child to harmful material or harmful descriptions or narrations.   Section 1470. Transfer of Obscene Material to Minors 
948.12 Possession of child pornography.   Section 1591. Sex Trafficking of Children or by Force, Fraud, or Coercion 
948.13 Child sex offender working with children.   Section 2241. Aggravated Sexual Abuse 
948.14 Registered sex offender and photographing minors.   Section 2243. Sexual Abuse of a Minor or Ward 
948.20 Abandonment of a child.   Section 2251. Sexual Exploitation of Children 
948.21 Neglecting a child.   Section 2251A(a)(b). Selling or Buying of Children 
948.22 Failure to support.   Section 2252. Certain Activities Relating to Material Involving the Sexual Exploitation of Minors 
948.23 Concealing death of child.   Section 2252A. Certain Activities Relating to Material Constituting or Containing Child Pornography 
948.24 Unauthorized placement for adoption.   Section 2253(a). Criminal Forfeiture 
948.30 Abduction of another’s child; constructive custody.   Section 2254(a). Civil Forfeiture 
948.31 Interference with custody by parent or others.   Section 2257. Record Keeping Requirements 
948.40 Contributing to the delinquency of a child.   Section 2260(a)(b). Production of Sexually Explicit Depictions of a Minor for Importation into the United States 
948.45 Contributing to truancy.   Section 2421. Transportation Generally 
948.50 Strip search by school employee.   Section 2422. Coercion and Enticement 
948.51 Hazing.   Section 2423. Transportation of Minors 
    Section 2425. Use of Interstate Facilities to Transmit Information About a Minor 

 It is a long list.  Look at it again.  Look at it closely.  It represents a very shameful facet of our society.  Once I started looking at it, I was surprises how much of an effort is being made to protect the children in our society from those individuals who are deviant and the dredges of our society.  I probably shouldn’t call it “protection,” because these laws are pretty much a reaction to events that have already occurred.  There really needs to be a method of “preventing” these things from being done to our children and to our future. 

I wonder, how has it came about that we have people in our society that sexually assault, traffic, abduct, molest, and sexually exploit the members of our society that represent innocence and purity… that have no real method of defending themselves in these circumstances . . . that do not have the knowledge to even understand these crimes against themselves.  In many cases the children may not even recognize that the action is a crime, and sometimes blame themselves for the crime.  A child should never be put in the position to have to save themselves from these perpetadors.  It really pains me when I look at this list of laws.  I am glad the laws are there, but it is not enough… not for my child… not for your child… or for the child that lives down the street. Something needs to change here.  We need to take responsiblity and make that change happen.

 [Please hang in there with me; there is a purpose for this post and the list of laws provided.  In the next week ot so look for the post Terrorizing our children . . .]



to be continued . . .