What Would You Do? - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Jackson, MO

What Would You Do?

What Would You Do?
By:  Wes Wallace

Jackson, MO -- It's a situation most parents never want to think about, but it recently surfaced right here in the Heartland. A Farmington teacher, accused of having a sexual encounter with a 15-year old boy, now faces criminal charges.

So what would you do, if you thought or found out your child got involved with a teacher or other school worker?

"I'm not really for sure, I'd probably go to the police first and then have them tell me what to do," says Dianna Hanners of Marble Hill.

Penny Burnell of Jackson has another idea, "I wouldn't face it on my own, I wouldn't go to the school first, I'd go to the community counseling center for some advice."

While those plans are ok, it's not the first thing a parent needs to do in such a situation, or so says Officer Rick Whitaker with the Jackson Police Department. "This is something schools want to know about, if something like that is going on, and you also have School Resource Officers, and sometimes students or parents can come to me asking what to do."

Whitaker serves as a School Resource Officer for Jackson Schools, he says having a police presence in schools really helps solve a lot of problems or prevent them from even happening, "Students are getting used to us being there, so if they have any questions or want something answered we're there. Plus school administrators are using us now to help with some investigations, since we're already there."

Officer Whitaker recommends parents keeping an open line of communication with their kids, so they feel comfortable talking about anything, including sensitive matters. He also suggests keeping a journal or track of any evidence like letters, notes, emails, or text messages.

KFVS12.com  Extended Web Coverage

Sexual Harrassment Facts

  • According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commision, sexual harrassment charges have increased 45 percent from 1992 to 1999.
  • The record number of lawsuits could mean that women today are less afraid to report mistreatment than they were in the past. However, the increase is also due to stricter government regulations requiring all companies to have clear harassment policies and grievance procedures firmly in place.
  • It's estimated that only 5 to 15 percent of sexually harrassed women formally report such misconduct.
  • The federal government defines harassment as:  Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal and physical conduct of a sexual nature when:
    • Submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as the basis for employment decisions or is made a condition of employment (quid pro quo harassment, or harassment resulting in a tangible employment action)
    • Such conduct is sufficiently severe or pervasive that it creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment (hostile environment harassment)

Source:  WetFeet

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