Grooming in Illinois Schools

It has been widely known, since 2004, that children in our schools are in grave danger of being sexually abused by teachers.  It was in that year that Charol Shakeshaft’s U.S. Department of Education sponsored study on Educator Sexual Misconduct was published.  These seminal findings were publicly released almost 18 years ago and showed that 9.6% of children in our schools, public and private, are victims of educator sexual misconduct sometime between kindergarten and 12th grade.

Almost nothing has been done about this. 

In fact, very little attention has been focused on the predators in our schools.  This year, Illinois State Representative Michelle Mussman claimed to be doing something about it by introducing House Bill 1975.  That bill requires educating teachers about educator sexual abuse and how to recognize the signs, specifically, how to recognize “grooming.”  It is a common practice of child sexual predators to “groom,” or seduce, children over a long period of time.  Essentially, the predator will develop an increasingly intimate relationship with the child, introduce secrecy at some point, and eventually sexualize the relationship. 

Mussman named the act “Faith’s Law,” after Faith Colson, a former Schaumburg High School Student who had been groomed and sexually exploited by one of her teachers starting in 2001.  Based on Dr. Shakeshaft’s study we know that Faith was only one of an estimated 16,000 students in Illinois who were abused by an educator that year. 

But what does this bill do to prevent what happened to Faith and 16,000 other Illinois children in 2001?  Not much, if anything.  The bill requires that teachers be trained to recognize grooming behavior, schools to set up policies to establish better boundaries between teachers and students, and to create a list of sexual abuse response and prevention resources to be made available to the public.  The bill also expands grooming beyond electronic activity to include in person and third-party conduct.

This law proves that our legislators, including Mussman, simply do not take the protection of childhood innocence seriously, or are too ignorant themselves to fashion a solution.  How could anyone graduate with a childhood education degree and not know what grooming is?  There are mountains of published papers on grooming.  Everyone even remotely connected to issues of child protection knows that grooming behaviors should be viewed as a giant red flag.  Expanding the grooming law does little since you must prove intent to abuse to prosecute.  That’s almost impossible until after the abuse occurs. 

Libraries already are filled with sexual abuse prevention resources, most of which nobody reads.  Just ask your librarian.  As for creating policies that establish appropriate boundaries between teacher and student?  If this hasn’t already been done in every school the people in charge should be prosecuted for malfeasance. 

This law is little more than virtue signaling. 

One reason the problem is so large is due the teachers’ unions.  They actively protect teachers who are predators.  Examples are everywhere of the unions shielding teachers who regularly engage in grooming behaviors.  The unions will not let them be fired.  Even when caught sexually abusing children the unions often go to bat for them.  Steven Battles, formerly from Springfield, is a typical example.   

Another problem is the obscenity exemption for teachers in Illinois.  This allows librarians to provide, and teachers to recommend, highly sexualized and often deranged and perverted books for children to read or study.  Providing this kind of material to children is a typical grooming behavior of predators.  Such materials are used to begin to sexualize the relationship and to arouse the child.  It’s completely legal in Illinois schools.

Senate Bill 818, which was voted for by Mussman and 49 fellow House Democrats (all Republicans voted against it), makes the grooming problem even worse.  It mandates that all schools implement sex education programs – Kindergarten to 12th Grade – which are to be based on the “National Sex Education Standards.”  Such a farce.  These “standards” were developed by an ad hoc group of sexual progressives.  In addition to Planned Parenthood, SIECUS, Answer, and Advocates for Youth, a host of other left leaning sexual activists developed the document.  Those who created the standards believe that every person has a right to experience sexual pleasure from birth to death, that children have a right to experience sexual pleasure whenever and with whomever they want, that purity is a false value, and that children should be encouraged to experiment sexually with same and opposite sex relationships.  The standards teach that all sexual activity is good as long as there is mutual consent, disregarding that children cannot legally give consent.

The National Sex Education Standards do not call for a class in comprehensive sex ed.  No.  The standards require that sex ed be infused in every class, that it be part of every subject wherever possible.

These are not standards.  This law destroys every remaining sexual standard established over the last two millennia.  And it turns every teacher into an accomplice for every predator in our schools.  It is institutionalized grooming on a mass scale.

Despicable.

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