FanPost

The Penn State mess and action you can take

Sorry that this isn't directly Chiefs or football related, but I think there are a lot of informed and thoughtful people who read and contribute to Ap.

The past week has weighed on my mind a lot regarding the sex abuse scandal that's been so devastating at Penn State.  It's bothered me because I've always been a big admirer of Joe Paterno and it's horrifying to see his fall from grace.  And it's also bothered me a lot because I used to coach high school sports and given the same or similar set of circumstances I would have handled the abuse allegations the same way Paterno did.

I've had a really hard time trying to explain this to people for the past few days, but Paterno did exactly what he was supposed to do both legally and institutionally when he reported the abuse to the Penn State AD.  Yes, he most definitely should have followed up and made sure his higher ups had done their jobs.  People are saying Paterno should have taken the suspected abuse directly to the police but I can tell you from first hand knowledge that's not how things are done in educational institutions.  

When I was coaching and teaching we were told two things:  1.  Legally you have to report any child abuse or exploitation you might suspect is going on.  2.  You report that information to the building principal.  So if someone had come to me and said they saw a retired coach sodomizing a kid in the showers, I would have reported that information to my building principal.  I wouldn't have gone to the police.  That's what we are told to do.  

There's been a lot of outcry this past week about school officials not going directly to the police in matters like this.  It seems to me it takes really horrific events that cause us to reevaluate how our organizations work; we are creatures of habit.  Very few schools had plans for dealing with non-weather related emergencies before the Columbine shootings took place.  Now all schools have plans for dealing with the worst case scenario.   If something positive can come out of this terrible situation at Penn State maybe it's changing the way abuse gets reported.

I've been encouraging everybody I know who has children or grandchildren or nieces and nephews to contact the schools where your kids go and ask "What is your policy for reporting child abuse."  I am not much of a gambler but I'd be willing to wager almost every school out there does what Penn State did: report the abuse to your supervisor and your supervisor takes it from there.  I think we really need to start pushing our schools to change this policy and require the abuse be directly reported to the proper authorities and eliminate all this bullshit reporting to the middle man.

The Penn State coverage has been non-stop for a week but nobody is asking the right questions.  Everybody is outraged but nobody is saying "How do we keep this from happening again?"   I would encourage everybody here at AP to contact your schools and help change these policies and try to make something good come out of this terrible tragedy at Penn State.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Arrowhead Pride's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Arrowhead Pride writers or editors.

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