As a society, we must look at the truths revealed since the clergy sex abuse crisis erupted in 2002. It is obvious that past educational goals in the U.S. somehow failed children and society. Evidence of this fact can be found by examining the clergy sex abuse crisis.... think about it:
*** There is an attorney some where in U.S. history that believed freedom of religion claims allowed employees of religious institutions to commit sex abuse crimes against children and vulnerable adults, without facing criminal or civil sanctions.
*** There is a religious leader some where in U.S. history who believed that guaranteed civil rights, freedom to be safe from sex abuse crimes, did not include children when the crimes were committed by employees of a religious institution.
*** There is a leader some where in U.S. history who believed freedom of speech, press and opinion includes "politically-correct" freedoms, as seen by the political party in leadership at the time.
*** There are government, political and religious leaders today and in U.S. History, who had/have the authority to correct the wrongs revealed since the clergy sex abuse crisis erupted; however, why are so many elected officials delaying new legislation similar to California's 2003 Sex Abuse Law, returning denied justice to victims of sex abuse crimes?
The No Child Left Behind Act is an example of leadership attempts to improve the public education system; but, it cannot be the only solution. Our children must be able to relate to curriculum during their school years and the sex abuse crisis is just that. This is an important element of the No Child Left Behind Act.
If our society does not confront the sex abuse crisis head-on, our children will continue to watch adults squirm and avoid any references to the sex abuse crisis, while also watching government leaders avoid corrective legislation, similar to California's 2003 Sex Abuse Law.
If I were a teacher, I would communicate to my students the opportunity they have today, history in the making, and open lines of communication regarding the clergy sex abuse crisis. I would not be concerned about test performance scores. It is important to focus on personal connections with students through communications in the classroom. Living in the United States is a privilege that requires respect. If I was an educator, I would show the documentary film, "Deliver Us From Evil," by Amy Berg, in my classroom, followed by class communications involving the U.S. Constitution, Bill of Rights and abuses of freedom of religion. I would ask my students to write letters to legislators and religious leaders, encouraging them to exercise freedoms of speech, press and opinion, with responsibility, not abuse. "Deliver Us From Evil" is a perfect visual tool to connect real-life history in the making with government and history curriculum.
Rest assured, we should all be prepared for controversy in discussing a politically-sensitive subject, the clergy sex abuse crisis. After all, effective communication is not just about giving information, it is about sparking an interest in learning, connecting with students, providing opportunities to problem solve in life challenges.
As a society, we are experiencing history in the making as we struggle through the clergy sex abuse solutions. However, we cannot continue to discourage public participation and debate in matters of public interest and safety. It is time for all political and religious influences to BUTT out of the crisis. Nothing stated herein will interefere with the goals of the No Child Left Behind Act; however, we cannot forget our duty to think out of the box and walk the talk. Living in the U.S. guarantees certain freedoms, without interference.
Without justice there will never be peace and without peace, faith and our country's laws are empty.
With hope for all children and families,
Debby and Michael Bodkin,
(Concerned Catholic Parents, Educator & Americans)