TV, the internet and older friends– elementary school children are picking up some disturbing behaviors. Recently, several area schools have had to discipline students for inappropriate touching. Parents have told us it is a big problem. Now, the schools are taking action.
Suspended students are back in school at Crestview Elementary, but they are not back in class completely.
“They are not in a traditional classroom and they are not with those same students,” said Mary Louise Bewley, Lawrence Township spokeswoman. “Along with their classwork, they also receive counseling.”
Seven fifth-graders at Crestview Elementary in Lawrence Township were suspended as the school investigated what the students called, “The Game.” Kids were touching each others’ private parts.
“It is not something that the kids are getting over with in a day,” said Bewley. “We do not expect that. We do have a counselor that is working with the children who have requested support.”
Bewley said the school also plans to bring in a program called Good Touch, Bad Touch, to help get every student on the same page.
“It is a refresher for some, it may be new for some,” said Bewley.
Good Touch, Bad Touch is a division of the Victim Assistance Unit within IMPD.
“We work with a variety of different victims whether that be- a homicide family, sexual assault, domestic violence, robbery,” said Victim Assistance Manager Lisa Brown.
Members of the unit are often called to crime scenes, but they are also in schools about every week. They are giving presentations, but they also help break the ice with students.
“It just kind of starts that conversation with the kids that you have a right to not be touched on your body,” said Brown. “If somebody is doing something that makes you feel uncomfortable, you can talk to somebody.”
A separate incident at Sidener Academy involved 12 year olds. Brown said sadly, it is the way things are now.
“Unfortunately we live in a very different time,” said Brown. “We are seeing younger and younger victims.”
“We are trying to, as a school and as a district, wrap our arms around these kids and try to help them,” said Bewley.
Bewley said there is no timetable set as to when The Good Touch, Bad Touch program will head to Crestview Elementary, she said the sooner the better. Until that happens, a mental health therapist will be at the school.
Additionally, the Victim Assistance Unit provides expertise when dealing with the following issues:
- Sex Offenses
- Child in Need Services
- Child Abuse/Neglect
- Elderly Abuse
- Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
All services are provided at no cost. Call (317)327-3331 for more information.