Saturday’s class was very interesting and disturbing all at the same time. As the leader of an elementary school, it confirmed my sense of responsibility to all of my children. I believe protecting children is the single most important part of my job. If children can not feel safe and protected there is no way that they can reach their full academic potential. Dr. Shakeshaft brought to light patterns that abusers follow. I have to say that I am looking at the adults who enter my school a little differently now. Not that I do not trust my teachers, but more that I am open to crazy things children may say. I do not feel I will ever dismiss comments from children again. I personally believe that ever administrator should have this type of presentation during the beginning of their career and again each year we open a new school year. As a leader, I can never afford to become complacent.
I was saddened when I turned on the morning news to hear yet again that a female teacher had a sexual relationship with a young student. Just like Dr. Shakeshaft said, the teacher said she felt loved, admired and the romance was special. I listened to the report with a sadness because everything that was said by this teacher was described to the letter in our class. It was the exact pattern described by Dr. Shakeshaft. I kept thinking, if only the leaders of that school had the same knowledge we were given, maybe just maybe, this never would have happened.
This was a very powerful part of my education in this program. I feel I am a better leader after hearing this presentation.