Testing To Teach

17 Feb

If you just landed here from Mars, you would be convinced that schools have become sheltered workshops for sex offenders.  Every day there’s a new story of not just one individual accused of mistreating a child, but of entire schools infested with abusers.  “What in the world,” says the Martian, “is going on?”

Twenty or so years ago, these stories were much less frequent.  To be fair, we should attribute some portion of the increased reports to awareness on the part of children and the thirst of sprawling media.  But surely that can’t account for the ubiquity of these incidents.

Pedophilia is a pretty specific condition.  I’m not willing to suggest that every person who has abused a child is in fact a pedophile.  But most likely they all do share one very strong trait.  They like children.  A lot.  They are far more comfortable with children than adults.  They are uncomfortable with their adult selves.  Their social circles (if they exist) are limited and mostly center around child-centric events.  It is no wonder that these men and women are attracted to a professional in which children outnumber adults by a wide margin.

Without diminishing for a moment the severe and debilitating effect abuse has on children, I suggest that if there is an increase in child abuse, it is the result of an infantalized society.  There are endless degrees of immaturity of course.  At its most innocuous, these child/adults are wearing baseball caps as chapeaus.  But at its worst…

I’m not sure our entire culture can wake up and smell the (non-whipped cream/foam topped) adult coffee, and embrace what is rightfully and wonderfully theirs.  But certainly what we can do is insist that every employee working with children have a psychological test.  Schools love tests.  A minimum screening is the very least we can do.  It does not impinge upon anyone’s civil rights to determine if they are suitable for a job based on their disposition.  There is nothing inherently sinister about working with children, but there is something alarming about preferring their company.  Wringing our hands and being alarmed is an appropriate first response.  But adults step up and take action to protect the most vulnerable members of society.


Posted by on February 17, 2012 in Childhood, Education


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2 responses to “Testing To Teach

  1. redbubble coupons

    May 6, 2013 at 10:53 pm

    This is the right blog for anyone who wants to find out about this topic. You realize so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I actually would wantHaHa). You definitely put a new spin on a topic thats been written about for years. Great stuff, just great!

  2. Preston

    February 17, 2012 at 10:13 am

    Do we have any hard evidence that child sex abuse has increased (or decreased, for that matter). The fondling stories seem to me to have started to emerge in New York as the situation in Los Angeles emerged as a national story.

    As long as we are speculating, what do you say to the idea that these incidents continue as a demographic constant–adults who are physically attracted to children seek out workplaces where, as you said, “children outnumber adults by a wide margin?”

    If this were true, then the reporting of the events might be where the trend occurs: We vasilate between ignoring and prosecuting child sex abuse. The offense itself is a constant.

    From there, we would have to ask ourselves what social forces are at play when these stories become more frequent. In New York City, where my two children are enrolled in public school, we are witnessing a public struggle over control over faculty resource management. In this context, scandal can be viewed as a tool for demonstrating that controls are needed from outside the system.

    What you seem to be suggesting is a psychological questionnaire that would seek to raise a flag about candidates with pedophile tendencies. That sounds practical to me, but there are also already rules and best practices that can limit the possibility of child molestation occuring. Namely, one adult and one child are never left alone together for any reason. There must either be a group of children or more than one adult present. I know at least one NYC middle school where this is practiced to good effect.


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