Teachers Take Leadership

Estacada School District Teachers Take Leadership on Preventing Child Sexual Abuse

The Estacada School District is once again demonstrating its commitment to nurturing young lives, even beyond academic pursuits, by training every teacher and support staff in the district about preventing child sexual abuse.

The district is working with Children’s Center, the child abuse intervention center that serves Clackamas County, to provide Stewards of Children child sexual abuse prevention workshops for teachers and support staff. The 3hour training gives adults concrete information about how to identify child sexual abuse, steps that can be taken to protect children, and how to respond responsibly if a child reports abuse.

“We know that child abuse takes place in every community and often goes unreported because adults just don’t have the information they need to reduce opportunities for abuse and how to recognize and respond to it,” said Marla Stephenson, Estacada School District Superintendent. “We made a commitment as a district to provide this education to our teachers and support staff and we hope to be able to offer this training to all other staff and to parents as well.”

The district’s high school, middle school, and elementary school’s teachers and support staff completed the training this past month; an additional training session is scheduled for the early June.   By the conclusion of the project, approximately 150 Estacada teachers and support staff will have been trained. “Stewards of Children is a national curriculum, based on research, and it has been shown to change behaviors,” Superintendent Stephenson said. “We want to ensure that the adults who work with our children are aware of the dynamics of child sexual abuse and are in a position to respond proactively.”

The results have been good. Before the training, 32% of the participants said they had made sure that child supervision was observable, and after the training, 94% said they would ensure that child supervision was observable in the future.

In June 2015, Oregon became the 24th state to pass legislation known as Erin’s Law which requires school districts to provide child sexual abuse prevention training to administrators, teachers, staff, and parents.

“We appreciate the leadership that Estacada has shown by making the resource and time commitment to educate its teachers and support staff,” said Barbara Peschiera, Children’s Center executive director. “Child sexual abuse can be prevented if each of us adults are diligent and have the information to know how to avoid situations where children are vulnerable.”

Children’s Center has a goal of delivering Stewards of Children workshops to 5% of the adults in Clackamas County. This represents the “tipping point,” where the hidden issue of child abuse will be discussed more openly, where parents will ask new questions of people and organizations that supervise their children, and where potential child abusers will know that a critical number of adults know how to recognize situations where children are vulnerable. 

“Children’s Center has a cadre of facilitators who can lead the workshops and we encourage schools, parents, organizations, and businesses to host future trainings for employees or as a service to their communities,” Peschiera said.  The Children’s Center web address is: childrenscenter.cc.