Colorado Springs Gazette: Public schools can learn much from the Catholic Church

This is newsworthy for the simple reason it is rare to hear of a secular newspaper or other news outlet praise the Catholic Church for how it has addressed the sexual abuse scandal. And it is rather stunning to read an editorial stating the following:

The Joshua Carrier saga is the latest reminder that safety in our public schools is woefully inadequate. It is past time that Congress, the president, the U.S. Department of Education and school boards devise a plan to protect our kids.

For a blueprint, they should start by looking to the Catholic Church in the United States.

Carrier, a former cop who worked in public schools, had been charged with 186 sexual assault charges involving children. He was acquitted on 36 assault counts and the jury deadlocked on 150 others, for which Carrier may be tried again. Jurors convicted him on 21 counts of child pornography, which alone could land him up to 36 years in prison.

Stories of sexual assaults in public schools have become routine. Anyone interested in the scope of the problem in Colorado should simply log onto Google and conduct this search: “Colorado teacher sexual assault.” Or simply watch the news each night and see how many days go by before a story pops up about a teacher facing charges of sexual impropriety with a student. It is epidemic.

The Associated Press put it this way in 2007, after releasing the findings of a yearlong investigation that was mostly ignored by the rest of the mainstream press:

“Students in America’s schools are groped. They’re raped. They’re pursued, seduced and think they’re in love.

“An Associated Press investigation found more than 2,500 cases over five years in which educators were punished for actions from bizarre to sadistic.

“There are 3 million public school teachers nationwide, most devoted to their work. Yet the number of abusive educators — nearly three for every school day — speaks to a much larger problem in a system that is stacked against victims.


Many schools have more credible allegations of abuse by employees than the entire church has nationwide.

Feel free to begrudge the Catholic church for a litany of sins. No amount of sexual abuse is acceptable in an institution that’s supposed to bring humanity closer to God. Yet, this imperfect human organization — which is susceptible to corruption like all others — has the answers for protecting children in 2012. It’s time to hold our public schools to this standard.

Read the entire piece (ht: An Idiotic Comment of the Day gold star goes to a certain Chris Pollard, who writes, in the editorial’s comments section, “Teaching religion to children is child abuse because the child isn’t in a position to validate the information. Given that people’s religion is dependent on where they live and what their parents religion was – it is clearly not a universal truth. If there were one worldwide religion you might have a legitimate claim.” Make that Super Idiotic Comment of the Day. Adults teach children all sorts of things—whether about God, the weather, China, the nature of love, ancient Greece, etc.—that children are not in a “position to validate”. I won’t bother with the rest. But if Mr. Pollard was educated in the public school system, he should start filing some suits—not for abuse, but for failure to transmit an iota of common sense and logic.

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About Carl E. Olson 1220 Articles
Carl E. Olson is editor of Catholic World Report and Ignatius Insight. He is the author of Did Jesus Really Rise from the Dead?, Will Catholics Be "Left Behind"?, co-editor/contributor to Called To Be the Children of God, co-author of The Da Vinci Hoax (Ignatius), and author of the "Catholicism" and "Priest Prophet King" Study Guides for Bishop Robert Barron/Word on Fire. His recent books on Lent and Advent—Praying the Our Father in Lent (2021) and Prepare the Way of the Lord (2021)—are published by Catholic Truth Society. He is also a contributor to "Our Sunday Visitor" newspaper, "The Catholic Answer" magazine, "The Imaginative Conservative", "The Catholic Herald", "National Catholic Register", "Chronicles", and other publications. Follow him on Twitter @carleolson.