Many parents want a better education for their children and want their children to be safe while at school—which is why many families choose private schools over public schools. However, parents may be shocked to find out that kids are not safe at any school—whether it is a religious school, school for the arts, or a prestigious educational institution. While this statement is harsh, it is the ugly truth.

Unfortunately, kids have been victims of child abuse at Catholic schools, Christian schools, prep schools, and other private schools throughout this nation. What this means is that just because a child attends a private school, doesn’t mean that he or she is safe and free from danger. There are many people at private schools that could be child abusers. Some possible parties include:

  • Another student (usually an older child)
  • Janitor
  • Teacher
  • Teacher’s aid
  • Playground attendant
  • Coach
  • Assistant coach
  • Other school employee
  • Pastor
  • Rabbi
  • Priest
  • Church volunteer

While there is no harm in wanting your child to excel in school and be safe while attending school, parents need to be aware that child abuse can occur anywhere—even at a private school. Although private schools run background checks and fingerprints on their teachers and other staff members, sometimes an abuser may not have a background because it could be the first time he or she strikes. Additionally, not everyone that is allowed on a private school’s campus has undergone security screenings. For example, a church volunteer or person in the religious organization may be trusted to be around children without having a background check.

What’s even more shocking to parents is that sometimes an abuser is an older child. Because no one ever thinks that a child could be an abuser, the abuse may happen in the boy’s or girl’s bathroom, behind the school or bus, or even out on the playground. While most child-on-child abuse goes unnoticed, sometimes schools are made aware of the abuse but fail to inform parents or get the abused child the counseling and help he or she needs. Why? Many private schools are concerned about their school’s reputation instead of what’s in the child’s best interest. 

Never assume for one moment that private schools are completely safe. In order to protect your child from becoming a victim of child abuse at a Sarasota school or to make sure you aren’t missing any abuse signs, read our article “Signs that Florida Child Abuse May Be Occurring.” If you do believe your child is being abused, please feel free to contact us or at least get a free copy of our book, When the Unthinkable Happens: Your Guide to Florida Child Abuse Claims.

Damian Mallard, Esq.
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Board Certified Sarasota Personal Injury Attorney