Education can reduce risk of child abuse

Once again, delivery of the morning newspaper brings reports of another child sexually molested by her teacher. According to an article in the Dallas Morning News, PE teacher Todd Allen Reich—who is already in prison for molesting a 9 year-old student in 2009—had been charged with more molestations in 2012. Here’s the interesting part: The 2009 victim did not notify anyone until 2012, after she moved to a new school and saw a video about “inappropriate touching.”

The article credits the Plano school district with “increased security efforts,” but why not increasing educational efforts? It was those efforts that let the 2009 victim know to come forward, and by doing so, she likely protected other potential victims from harm. It worked here, and it can work in other situations.
Lauren’s Kids

South Florida’s Lauren Book founded Lauren’s Kids to educate adults and children about sexual abuse prevention. Ms. Book has stated that she is a survivor of long-term sexual abuse and uses Lauren Kid’s to keep South Florida’s children safe through combination of formal addition to school curricula information campaigns to promote awareness. If a single video can have such a profound effect in Plano, think what a serious effort could do?

Lauren’s Kids is on the web at https://laurenskids.org/. But take a look at http://dontmissthesigns.org/ that is a product of work by the Lauren’s Kids organization. The organization provide multi-lingual educational brochures, posters, parent tool-kits and checklists to better equip children, educators, and parents to recognize abuse. Techniques that are proven in Florida can be helpful in Texas.

8-Year Old Boy Gang Raped on School Bus

We represent a first grade boy who was gang-raped on a school bus while traveling to elementary school in the Eagle Mountain-Saginaw Independent School District in Fort Worth, Texas. This school bus was operated by GoldStar Transit, Inc., a subsidiary of Student Transportation of America, Inc.

Bullying is an epidemic in this country. It can happen to any of our children unless we, as a community, make sure that it will not be tolerated. If you have information relating to this assault or any other abuses or bullying occurring on school buses operated by Goldstar Transit, please contact Samples Ames PLLC at 214-308-6507 as soon as possible.

This violent sexual assault might never have been discovered, if not for one brave student who reported the incident to a teacher. The Fort Worth police were first notified of the attack by a caring emergency room doctor who examined the victim on the day of the assault. Child Protective Services has opened an investigation into the home of the two perpetrators.

After noticing the rapists were allowed to get on the same bus for their return home after school, the victim’s mother contact the news media. When talking with an NBC reporter, the mother promised her boy that “we are going to make sure you are safer from now on, you and every other kiddo going there.”

The Fort Worth Police have been incredibly supportive of the victim and his family. But their hands are tied because children under the age of 10 cannot be legally charged with a crime, so the perpetrators currently go unpunished by the criminal justice system.

Similarly, the school district is investigating, but says there is little that it can do. Without a strong statement from our community, made through the civil justice system, crimes such as these will continue to go unpunished and companies such as Goldstar Transit will know that they can value money over safety with no fear of being held accountable.

School buses are seen by parents as an extension of our schools, but buses are often operated by private companies that place profits over people. Many times, the school does not retain any responsibility for punishing bullying and other abuse that occurs on a school bus. This is a dangerous situation where kids are confined in an enclosed area for a significant amount of time and are unable to escape. If no one is there to protect those who are vulnerable, abuses such as this will continue to occur and grow even more heinous as demonstrated by this claim we are currently investigating.

The GoldStar bus where the rape occurred reportedly had cameras, but the cameras apparently were not appropriately positioned to capture the horrific acts that this first grader endured. The bus had no adult monitors, and the only adult was the driver. No one in a position did anything to stop this and no punishment has been handed down.

If you have any information about the incident described above or have any questions or concerns about other school bus abuse, please call Samples Ames at 214-308-6507. Please help us get justice for this first grade boy and punishment for both those who did it and those who allowed it to happen.

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