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Massachusetts lawmakers push bills to tackle “staggering but true” child abuse in schools



Sam Doran

Anti-child abuse advocates on Thursday lined up behind bills they said would crack down on sexual exploitation of kids in school settings, an area that a Boston lawyer said is the “clergy abuse crisis of this decade.”

Speaking on a webinar held by Mass. Citizens for Children and the Enough Abuse Campaign, Sen. Joan Lovely said one bill in particular, dubbed the SHIELD Act, would address “staggering but true” statistics about the prevalence of abuse in the education system. The Salem Democrat said her legislation and a parallel bill filed by Rep. John Law (S 314 / H 194) would require schools and youth-serving organizations to adopt abuse prevention policies; require all mandated reporters employed in schools and child-serving programs to undergo biennial training on how to prevent child sexual abuse, recognize inappropriate behavior, and respond to violations; and have the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education develop the training program and make it available to schools and YSOs at no cost.

Rep. Natalie Blais also highlighted a bill she co-sponsored with Lovely (H 434 / S 1040), which she said would “strengthen the hiring and retention policies” at schools to weed out prospective employees who could pose safety risks to children. The standardized screening would require asking applicants about whether they had ever been the subject of a misconduct investigation, or whether their professional license or certificate had ever been suspended. That would help stop abuse perpetrators from “being passed from school to school,” Blais said.

Attorney Carmen Durso, whose Boston practice specializes in representing abuse survivors, told attendees that “sex abuse in education has become the clergy abuse crisis of this decade.” “By any measure, the numbers of people who are being sexually abused in school are just startling and are, if not the [most], one of the most, important public health problems we have in the United States,” Durso said.

Lovely said that sponsors “have really refined” the anti-abuse bills and they “are really ready for floor action.” She added that “as a survivor, I walk in those shoes.”



  1. Joanne Abreu

    April 20, 2023 at 10:37 pm

    Yeah! Even if it’s about a teacher ignoring a child’s failure to comprehend a subject matter that most likely is attributed to a motor skills deficiency, mental health or brain disorder, a nurturing factor related to parental lack of intellect or parental lack of knowing that their home support to contribute to the educational process in their; whatever the case may be, a teacher should be communicating the struggle to a child’s family.

    Universal; we all have the same blood. White; is it the color of skin as the majority of teachers? Ethnicity; do schools meet the requirement for a mix? Educational material required; is it still white man who wrote it? Has it been revised to speak in fairness. I.e.: Native Americans were not savages; their land was stolen from them; the settlers were THE first terrorists in the US; the genocide of native Americans; Africans were bamboozled and stolen from their land; slavery is unethical; black skin aka Africa is the nation of the first Homo sapiens. So much to change!

    • God loves stupid people because he made so many of you

      April 21, 2023 at 12:48 pm

      I read your comment and stopped taking it seriously the moment you typed ” Natives Americans were not savages ” They absolutely were. They earned that title. Read a book. I recommend ” empire of the Summer Moon ” By S.C. Gwynne. The Comanche would raid white settlers those who weren’t killed were tortured to death slowly and babies were grabbed by the feet and their heads were smashed against rocks until dead. The survivors were enslaved by the Comanche. Another note Native Americans had no concept of land ownership so you can’t ” steal ” land that no one owns. They were nomads who roamed the lands and FYI they were just as savage to the other Native Americans before the white man showed up in the 1700s so they were the first ” terrorists ” in the U.S

      Africans were not ” bamboozled ” and ” stolen ” from their land. They were captured and sold off as slaves to the whites and Arabs by their fellow Africans and FYI it’s still going on today. Oh and guess what? They were doing this for time immemorial before the white people showed up and continue. If we’re going to teach history lets teach real history and the the revisionist nonsense you’re suggesting. Do yourself a favor read a book or two before trying to sound educated on a subject you’re clearly ignorant of.

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