Protecting your child from authority figures on wrong side of la - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Protecting your child from those in authority

(KFVS) - Making headlines recently: Authority figures finding themselves on the wrong side of the law.

Parents say they don't know who they can trust with their children, so we went to find out more about who's protecting your children at school, and how you can protect them at home.

Most recently we reported on a case in Poplar Bluff where 20-year-old Lance Hada faces charges in connection with the molestation of a 1-year-old girl.

According to court papers, the child's parents discovered the abuse after Hada babysat for the child in their Poplar Bluff home. 

Friday, we learned Sikeston Public Schools placed English teacher Andrew Delles on paid leave.

Court papers say 28-year-old Delles allegedly sent picture of himself "from the neck to the knees with no clothing in between" to a 14-year-old student's cell phone.

"In our case we had a parent that became aware of this and shared the information with the district," said Superintendent Steve Borgsmiller.

Borgsmiller says the district hired Delles five years ago.

When it comes to faculty, he says despite extensive background checks you can't predict what people may be capable of.

"In some cases social media makes decisions that are not good much easier to commit than otherwise," said Borgsmiller.

He says in any case, protecting students from inappropriate actions comes down to good and consistent communication. He says they check out every credible complaint, as they did in this case, and turn information over to authorities.

"You have to take issues these days that in the past would be unthinkable," said Borgsmiller.

"It's the adults responsibility to protect children," said Tammy Gwaltney of Beach Health Center and SEMO NASV.

Gwaltney works to educate and prevent abuse.

"The most important thing to know is people who abuse usually know and have access to your child," said Gwaltney. "It's not necessarily the stranger."

She says when you stress safety to your children, don't forget to tell them how to keep their body safe.

"It is really that simple,  telling kids your body is yours and it's not ok for others to touch it," she said.

Gwaltney recommends questioning your children and maintaining a good relationship. She says changes in behavior could be a sign of abuse.

"Get a background check but that's not always enough. Ask for at least six references and always listen to your gut when it comes to your child," said Gwaltney.

Find more information for parents or children affected by sexual abuse or violence at

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