MIAMI (CBSMIAMI) – Your children spend more time in school than anywhere else besides home. But, after a stunning number of teacher arrests for inappropriate — and illegal — sexual relations with their students, parents are increasingly concerned.
”It’s just appalling,” said one North Miami dad.READ MORE: Man Held Without Bond In Killing Of Baby, Babysitter In Coral Springs
“I was really concerned about that,” added a mom from North Miami.
Parents are understandably concerned to find out that, since the end of last school year, CBS4 News counted close to a dozen cases of teachers who were arrested in both Miami-Dade and Broward Counties for sexual misconduct with students.
Amanda Altman, the CEO of Kristi House notes, “Unfortunately, sexual abuse among children is very common. We know one in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually assaulted before their 18th birthday.”
Zuwania Smith, a Broward County Schools family counselor, added, “Anyone that spends time alone with your child or has uninterrupted time alone with your child is someone you need to be concerned about.”
A 63 year-old Tamarac teacher said, according to the arrest affidavit “the devil made him do it” when asked why he molested a 12-year-old girl during a tutoring session.READ MORE: Report: South Florida Counties Have High COVID Levels, Despite CDC Numbers
A 27-year-old history teacher was arrested on multiple felony counts charged with unlawful sexual activity with a 16-year-old.
No matter the perpetrator, signs of trauma almost always emerge in the affected children.
“Some kids become cutters, some kids become defiant, some kids start staying out late, hanging with the wrong crowd, those are signs you know something is going on,” explained Smith.
Experts say says open communication is key, “It’s ok for parents to talk to their kids about their private parts , about being touched, even if they know someone and don’t want to be hugged. It’s ok to say no. Whatever makes your child feel uncomfortable is off limits,” noted Altman.
Despite the alarming number of teachers in trouble recently, most parents admit they realize there are more good teachers than bad.MORE NEWS: COVID-19 Testing Site Finder
“I think teachers do a very good job and we should focus on that as well,” added the father from North Miami.