Hats off to the School District of Greenville County and to their Superintendent, Burke Royster. The district has taken a very proactive approach to protecting kids! The district has been working with the Julie Valentine Center to bring training to all faculty and staff to both recognize the signs of abuse and to understand their duties as mandatory reporters. In a Greenville News article, Royster stated, “Unfortunately, there are individuals who prey on children in a variety of ways. We asked the Julie Valentine Center to help us by providing in-service for all GCS employees so we can further improve our efforts to ensure the safety and security of children.”
Unfortunately, failure to protect kids happens everywhere. We recently had a case in neighboring Oconee County where the principal of an elementary school is charged with failure to report child abuse. Failure to report abuse is a crime if you are a mandatory reporter. While traveling this weekend to North Carolina, a local newspaper reported that a school district was being sued in civil court for failure to take appropriate action “after learning of concerns about a principal who was later accused of sexually abusing students.”
Greenville County Schools are being proactive, rather than reactive and setting an example for other districts. Safety has to be our number one priority. A safe child is a child protected and prepared to learn.
A Call to Action: Contact your school district and encourage them to follow the example of Greenville County. We have excellent resources in South Carolina for training. The Julie Valentine Center www.julievalentinecenter.org in Greenville and Darkness to Light www.d2l.org in Charleston can provide you with details.