In light of the case against the assistant coach of Penn State University, there have been revisions to the laws that govern the reporting of suspected abuse of students in Pennsylvania schools. New policies have stipulated that any suspected sexual abuse be reported within 15 days. While the numbers of allegations have increased, it is unknown how many of the incidents later prove to be inaccurate or false.

According to the official reports, Pennsylvania teachers are the primary targets of abuse allegations. Administrative staff comprise only 20 percent of those who have been accused. Men between the ages of 40 to 50 are the ones most likely to face these allegations. Current administrators have purportedly blamed the various forms of contact through social media for the increase in accusations.

The accusations against teachers have encompassed everything from physical abuse to sexual assault and similar alleged offenses. Many of those who have been accused of impropriety have chosen to resign their positions instead of facing public charges. In the past 10 years, reportedly more than 330 educators have voluntarily left the teaching positions they once held; many may have felt that they had no real options to fight the charges.

Admittedly, there are plenty of examples in the media concerning inappropriate contact between students and teachers, and those teachers have been held accountable for their offenses. However, not every teacher who has been accused is guilty of the said crime. There may be many instances of students lashing out at a teacher he or she does not like or has a grudge against. There may also have been many teachers whose careers were cut short through false allegations.

Any educator who finds that he or she is on the wrong end of sexual abuse accusations is entitled to the presumption of innocence. Furthermore, the teacher is ensured of the right to consult with a representative and launch a strong defense against any allegations of misconduct. It is vital to remember that an accusation or criminal charge does not equate to actual guilt of any wrongdoing.

Source: pottsmerc.com, “Pa. ranks No. 2 in teacher sex crimes“, Megan Harris, July 29, 2014