Sexual Assaults In Schools

When trust between teacher and student is broken, psychologist Dr. Harlan Heinz says the effects can last a lifetime.

"They cannot trust anyone perhaps and especially those in authority so their issues of trust are broken severely and it may take years before they can re-establish a healthy understanding of trust," he said.

In Amery, former teacher's aide Brenda Baillargeon allegedly shattered that trust, engaging in a sexual relationship with the 16-year-old student.

"Although there may be strong positive feelings, it's the responsibility of the professional, of the teacher to maintain appropriate boundaries," Heinz said.

He says school employees like Baillargeon are held to a higher standard, committed to protecting the students they serve.

The Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault holds a similar view, it's policy states that "institutions, professional associations and state licensing boards prohibit sexual activity between service providers and clients... sexual exploitation of a client is institutionalized rape."

So, how can parent's protect their children?

Heinz recommends keeping a watchful eye and open line of communication.

"What are you doing when you're spending this time after school with the teacher, what is going on, who else is involved?" he said. "The parents need to know what is happening with respect to the time out of school."

Heinz says that knowledge is important, because with more than 4.5 million students subjected to sexual misconduct sometime between kindergarten and 12th grade, according to the coalition, sexual misconduct may be more common than you think.

Baillargeon is charged with three counts of sexual assault of a student by school staff and two counts of child enticement with sexual contact.


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