How Common is Sexual Abuse in Schools?

This spring, a teacher that I had known well in high school was charged with sexually assaulting two underage female students. A few weeks ago, he was indicted on 16 felony charges and 11 misdemeanors. This was a well-known and loved teacher, and the entire community was shocked. But the issue of sexual abuse in schools is not an uncommon one.

In an article on, Robyn Monaghan examines several recent instances of educators abusing students and questions how willing school officials are to investigate claims of sexual abuse that involve one of their staff or faculty members.

Stop Educator Sexual Abuse, Misconduct, and Exploitation (SESAME) is an organization that “works as a voice for the prevention of sexual exploitation, abuse, and harassment of students by teachers and other school staff.” They cite many facts and statistics on their website and claim that “15% of students will be sexually abused by a member of the school staff during their school career.”

While this number may seem high, it is important to remember that many students will never report a teacher who acts in an inappropriate manner. Of those victims who do seek help, many face disbelief and scorn rather than receiving support.

Social media have made teacher/student interactions even more complicated. Several states are pursuing legislation that will limit the amount of electronic communication allowed between students and their teachers. The proposed laws will restrict contact through text messages, e-mail and websites like Facebook. Teachers will not be allowed to contact students through their personal accounts, but must use school-sanctioned accounts that are dedicated solely to classroom business.

What can you do?

If you suspect that your child is being abused at school, Monaghan suggests contacting the police directly rather than reporting any incidences to school officials. School districts often want to protect their own, and any statements made may be held against you in court later.

Additionally, view any personal communication from a teacher as a warning sign. No student should be receiving personal messages or gifts that the rest of his or her classmates do not receive.

Sexual abuse in schools is a real problem in our society. The best way to keep your children safe is to monitor their online activity, pay attention to clues that something may be wrong and listen to them if they want to talk about any problems at school.

Related Stories:

Can It Still Be True: Child Abuse at School?

Houston Press Lists Top 10 “Hottest” Sex Offenders

Sex Ed.– Whose Job Is It?


Photo credit: striatic


Tahni W.4 years ago

add-on; Please nobody tell me my mom wasn't doing her job either....I already know that.

Tahni W.4 years ago

The teacher who molested me is still teaching. It's true that schools (at least in my case) want to protect their own rather than take responsibility for putting kids in danger. I was brought into the principals office after two years of dealing with what was happening to me. I was told that Mr. B had a wife and small children and I was asked if I wanted to destroy a mans life. I did not want to destroy anyone's life, so I said, no. The principal then proceeded to put papers on the desk (my mom was there) to sign me out of school. I became a dropout.
Two years after I left school, he transferred to another school.
I turned him in, finally, at the age of 24 after years of trying to get someone to listen to me about it. Turned out, he had never been caught or accused by another child (at least not on record).
I lost track of his whereabouts for several years but finally found him last year. From there I was able to see that he had been school-hopping for 20 years or more.
I can't help but wonder if he wasn't caught in each school and just transferred to another every time. How many lives has he upset or destroyed in all of these years?
....and it seems from my perspective to be with the blessing of school administrators who choose to look the other way.

Laura Dixon
Laura D.4 years ago

I am disgusted. Truly disgusted.

Linda B.
Linda Querel4 years ago

Schools are secretive and sometimes dark places. Not enough is done to protent students under that roof. Tell your parents right away, get proof, go to the police not the school officials. This has been a known and hidden problem for a long, long time. Demand that schoolstaff, no matter who, that know, or should have known, or have had a complaint and do nothing except protect those teachers immediately lose their jobs and even criminal charges against them for not protecting the children. All parents, all students and all school staff should be aware of what is happening in their schools. The secrecy under these roofs must stop.

Phillip Anderton
Phillip A.4 years ago

I can tell you from bitter (personal) experience, that it is not just girls who suffer sexual abuse at schools!

Janine H.
Janine H.4 years ago

Always when i hear about terrible things it makes me sad, and i cannot understand how someone could do something terrible - bully, hurt, rape or kill a person or animal. When i was a child this also happened to me... and surviving this is more terrible than not (parents and other may think different, but a victim?), living with all this pain... living with guilty feelings... full with hate for the own self... having one wish, not to wake up at the following day anymore...
No one can understand, because most people cannot imagine this, cannot imagine how much it change. Some of them think, that this would not be so terrible, because all would make some sexual experiences, and so it would not matter if there were some without own interest or wish. This cruel and superficial society makes me sick.

I know that it is not good to wish someone who does terrible things something as a punishment. But when i hear about violent people then i think why are they so "afraid" to go to someone equal and get some hits for their selves. This is a perversion, to think being more a man when beating a woman or a girl. This men are a shame for all normal men.

"We have learned to fly the air like birds and swim the sea like fish, but we have not yet learned the simple art of living together as brothers." (Martin Luther King)

Brenda Towers
Brenda Towers4 years ago

This is heartbreaking. So many teachers care for the welfare of children , yet a number of perverts still cause this trauma for the young and innocent!!

Lika S.
Lika S.5 years ago

This is part of the reason why we need April's Law. Our children are being targeted, and many for sexual purposes. In my area school district, several teachers have been caught for porn, child porn, sex abuse, and more. One teacher slapped a student, and our former mayor was indicted for trying to pursue a teenager.

Here is the petition for the federal April's Law - please sign it to put stiffer punishments for those who sexually prey on our children on and offline.

Rosemary G.
Rosemary G.5 years ago

Teaching gives power to the adults. Some can't handle it so they prey on the young.

Ernest R.
Ernest R.5 years ago

Is anyone aware of what happened to native kids that were kidnapped by government agents and put in ‘residential schools’? Check it out if you have the stomach for it.