A teacher at an elementary school in Los Angeles was recently arrested and accused of abusing 23 of his students. The allegations include, among other acts, blindfolding the kids in his class and making them eat spoonfuls of his semen, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
The man in custody, Mark Berndt, 61, had more than 30 years experience teaching at Miramonte Elementary School, located in south Los Angeles, when he was let go in March 2011.
The news has made all parents shudder, thinking that when they drop their kids off at school they should be safe and protected from harm. Some measures that can be taken to help prevent these types of situations are:
- Talk to children about the being touched or caressed in appropriate ways. If someone tries to touch them in a way that feels uncomfortable, suggests or does things that are unpleasant or make them feel bad, teach them to say “no” to whoever is doing it and to tell you immediately.
- Explain which ways of touching their own bodies are considered appropriate and inappropriate. They need to know that just because they’re kids doesn’t mean that they owe respect to all adults and have to put up with inappropriate acts that can harm them. Tell them that not all adults do the right things.
- Most important, teach your children to speak openly and to trust that you will be able to protect them.
Parents need to know that their child is not responsible for being sexually abused, even if they have spent a lot of time with the abuser and may not have said anything to their mother or father. Children who are suffering from sexual abuse can’t stop it if they remain silent for fear of being misunderstood or if they are afraid that others will think they are lying. Remember that the abuser will always make sure to threaten their victim into keeping quiet, but it doesn’t mean that the child isn’t suffering.
How To Help Victims of Sexual Abuse
- If your child has suffered sexual abuse, assure them that they did the right thing by telling you and that you trust them.
- Let them know that they will be protected and that it won’t happen again.
- Explain to them that they are not responsible in any way for what happened.
- Don’t tell other people about what happened without your child’s consent.
- Keep aware of all their future actions.
- Assure them that they aren’t responsible for the consequences that the abuser will have to face.
- Help them understand the importance of receiving professional medical and psychological help.
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