Monday, November 14, 2011

Penn State Scandal

It took me the better part of two gruesome hours to read through the indictments against the Jerry Sandusky. I had to take several pauses, or risk becoming physically ill. There are NO words that anyone who had knowledge of this situation can say to any of the victims....nothing. NO staff member, employee, or person in passing who had an inkling of this situation can make it right.

I am going to go a step further here. There is very little that our society at large can do as it presently is. Plain and simple America is a society that does not value it's most vulnerable members. Public policy, law enforcement, socially acceptable norms, and overwhelming apathy attest to that. I am fuming at the thought the athletic director, head coach, and president all had knowledge that this man was actively raping a defenseless child and did absolutely nothing about it. I am shocked two different men on two different occasions witnessed the raping and sexual assaults of two different young adolescent boys and nothing was done about it!

Good news travels fast. Bad news travels faster. There is no way that I will ever believe that it was anything less than common knowledge that Sandusky was a disgusting freak who targeted little boys. Outside of what was going on in the university, there was a school district that banned him from coming to their school based off of his inappropriate or as quoted in the indictment, suspicious behavior. Suspicious behavior that I might add, was reported to the authorities. Authorities that I might add, investigated the incident, and DECIDED not to file criminal charges ,even though this monster admitted that he showered with and inappropriately touched children.

Most of us have come across a co-worker we know should not have the position they hold. But let's face it we are not talking about working with a functioning alcholic. We're not talking about someone who we are pretty sure steals. This isn't about the office tramp who dates anyone who walks through the door. The ramifications are far greater than tension around the water cooler, unbalanced budgets, or inefficient services. We are talking about a sexual predator who was molesting and raping innocent children.

Parents no judgements from me. I am sure many of the parents who sent their kids to these programs, or sent their child to be mentored by Sandusky had the best of intentions. But, let me tell you one thing that I have learned over the years. There is no better mentor for your child than you! No matter how poorly you have handled certain life situations, your child loves you. Don't send them to someone else to show them the facts of life. At best TAKE them don't send them. You never truly know who you are dealing with. My children are actively involved in all sorts of programs. But, I am there. Even when I don't feel like it. Even when it's not convienient. When I would rather be enjoying some me time, I am still there. Because, nothing is more precious to me the safety and well being of the little people I chose to bring into the world. When they want to be in an activity that does not fit into the family schedule they simply cannot participate. If you can't be there with them, or someone you know intimately and trust, don't send them. I don't buy they hype that parents need to let children go out on their own. Some of these victims were in 8th grade. That's 13 years old! A child cannot outsmart a predator....period. You can give space and still have supervison. It's not about hovering it's about protecting. That is our job as parents.

Your ten year old does not have to go on an overnight trip, and stay with persons of background unknown just because he loves football or any other activity. Time spent throwing the ball around with someone who loves him, and has genuine praise is often more meaningful to him. I have one SUPERIOR athlete in my house. Everywhere we go, opposing coaches, referees, and parents come to me after a game and sing his praises. We get invites in the mail for camps and trainings all of the time. But, he is happiest when I sit in the backyard with him and watch him practice, and he has told me that on numerous occasions. He's also promised to put me in a "really nice nursing home when he goes pro" because I support him more than anyone else in the world.

Yes I like to stand on my soapbox and shout with righteous indignation about anything and everything that gets on my nerves. I do very little of that when it comes to parenting. We are all trying to figure out how to best care for them. Sometimes we get it right sometimes we don't. We are all, generally doing the best we can. None of us is perfect and God knows the world isn't either. But our kids HAVE to come first. Right now people get more jail time and punishment for attacking a complete stranger, than for doing the same thing to a defenseless child.

I can only imagine that many of the authorities who had the wherewithal to stop this monster had children themselves. I have to admit that I am just dumbfounded that elitism and the almighty dollars pouring into a lucrative football program or popular non-profit agency took precedent of the welfare of these children. The disconnect is inhumane. We have to do better, and call for those around us to do better.

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