Tuesday, April 24, 2007
By Caroline Hendrie
A draft report commissioned by the U.S. Department of Education concludes that far too little is known about the prevalence of sexual misconduct by teachers or other school employees, but estimates that millions of children are being affected by it during their school-age years.
Written in response to a requirement in the federal No Child Left Behind Act, the report by a university-based expert on schoolhouse sexual misconduct concludes that the issue "is woefully understudied" and that solid national data on its prevalence are sorely needed.
Yet despite the limitations of the existing research base, the scope of the problem appears to far exceed the priest abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church, said Charol Shakeshaft, the Hofstra University scholar who prepared the report.
The best data available suggest that nearly 10 percent of American students are targets of unwanted sexual attention by public school employees—ranging from sexual comments to rape—at some point during their school-age years, Ms. Shakeshaft said.