The headlines that came proclaimed something we all fear: A homeschool teacher molests 17 year old girl.
Arkansas mom held for sexually abusing teenage girl
As homeschool leaders we never want to read about the horrific things that could happen in a homeschool program.
In this specific case, the events between the accused and victim did not take place during the co-op time.
Take time to assess your risk based on your activities. Develop, communicate, and stick to a plan. The links below will help.
Check with your state to determine who is mandated to report child abuse.
In this case, a parent reported her concerns to the pastor of he church where the homeschool co-op was held. He is a mandatory reporter and the pastor reported the abuse to the police.
Reporting is typically confidential.
Your leadership needs to know what to do if there is a report of suspected abuse. It is never the leadership’s responsibility to investigate, only to report to authorities.
Often, leaders feel they should investigate to see if it really happening – feeling that they need to have the claim substantiated before reporting, but that’s not true.
Resources to Safeguard Children
There are lots of websites that offer guidelines on assessing your risk and creating a response plan. Below are two that will get you started.
This important thing is not that you read these sites.
The important thing is that your board create and stick to a plan.
Get educated and act on it.
Managing and reducing risk in your program
Key Principles in Youth Protection
Carol Topp, CPA
Helping Homeschool Leaders…to safeguard children