Sunday, November 20, 2011

Penn State, the Specter of Institutional Failure and the Promotion of Healthy Child Development.

We wanted to take a moment and share a Letter to the Editor we wrote on Penn State, the specter of institutional failure and the promotion of healthy child development. 

To the Editor, 

Most of us want to live in a country that we can be proud of, where powerful institutions and people seek to ensure that all children have equal opportunities for healthy growth and development. The specter of institutional failure at the Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) is one reason why the unfolding scandal disturbs those of us who advocate on behalf of children. But the scandal should also serve as a wake-up call for everyone in the country that we all play a role in raising healthy children free of abuse and the long-term adverse impacts that can result when we don’t prevent it. 

As a nation, we should demand to know what kind of organizational culture at Penn State exists that even allowed the university to be in this position? We as a community of people who care about children should demand to know why these allegations were not reported. And as interested individuals we must demand to know how other interests may have taken precedent over the best interests of a child. We should be morally outraged that subsequent allegations of abuse occurred because no one acted with a focus on fixing the situation. There is no conceivable justification that would support the apparent actions taken, and not taken, by the university that placed other interests over the best interests of children. 

Prevent Child Abuse America applauds the Board of Trustees’ decision to fire the individuals who failed to act, including Coach Paterno and President Graham Spanier, and their efforts to improve the school’s obligations to the community and state. But as we turn our focus towards healing the children who were victims of this abuse we must redouble our effort to make sure this doesn't happen again. 

Through advancing evidence-based prevention strategies, including child sexual abuse prevention services, Prevent Child Abuse America seeks to ensure access to prevention in every community in the United States. But that is only part of our mission. 

I also believe that together we have the chance to make a meaningful impact in the lives of all children and that's why Prevent Child Abuse America helped found the National Movement for America’s Children ( We call on the public to help us ensure that policies and programs that promote healthy child growth and development are put in place and maintained. Together we can ensure that the next Penn State incident is prevented from ever occurring in the first place. 


James M. Hmurovich President & CEO, 
Prevent Child Abuse America


Anonymous said...

U.S. Congress must Immediately Enact H.R. 3027 "The Ending Corporal Punishment in Schools Act", DUE TO DIE AGAIN IN U.S. HOUSE COMM. ON EDUCATION 12/8/2011, to stop Politicizing our nation's schoolchildren's human/constitutional/civil rights in taxpayer funded schools and ensure EQUAL access to safe and healthy learning environments for ALL U.S. Schoolchildren! In predominantly southern "BIBLE BELT" schools, MANDATORY REPORTERS of suspected child abuse, school teachers, coaches and administrators HIT STUDENTS K-12 with thick wooden PADDLES, SEXUAL ASSAULT when done to a non-consenting adult, to deliberately inflict PAIN AS PUNISHMENT for minor infractions, known as "Corporal Punishment", already ILLEGAL in schools in 31 U.S. States and Prohibited for use against convicted felons in ALL U.S. Prisons! Several "School Paddling States" have "Teacher IMMUNITY LAWS" to protect school employees from criminal/civil action when students are INJURED, leaving families no legal redress! Federal statistics indicate that beatings by school administrators are overwhelmingly administered in the Southern Bible Belt. The beatings are "founded upon the RELIGIOUS CONVICTION IT IS A SIN TO SPARE THE ROD AND SPOIL THE CHILD." Federal Courts uphold outrageous incidents of school corporal punishment/paddling appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court declines to hear school corporal punishment/paddling appeals as state and federal laws allow this clear violation of our nation's constitutional rights to our schoolchidren with no safety standards to protect students from injuries and no legal redress for families left unable to protect their children from institutionalized violence. "Bullying is enough of a problem among students; the teachers shouldn't be doing it, too," said Rep. McCarthy.

Please add your voice to Abolish Corporal Punishment of ALL Students in America's Schools at donthitstudents dot com

Prevent Child Abuse America said...

We want to thank you for sharing your thoughts. We also want to note, that we support ending corporal punishment in schools, we support HR 3027 and we have passed a board resolution on ending corporate punishment in schools.