Jerry Sandusky became the face of national shame when arrested and charged for 52 counts of sexual abuse of young boys. The nation cheered when the serial pedophile was sentenced to 60 years in prison.
Little did the nation know the same thing happens in many public schools, only worse: young boys themselves assault and even sodomize other young boys, even with foreign objects, and in a third of cases with the coaches’ knowledge.
It happens alarmingly frequently, according to a study done by the Journal of Youth and Adolescence. In this particular study, “Ten percent of high school boys report being victims of rape, forced oral sex and other sexual assault,” as a Boston University news outlet (WBUR) reports. But when also including forced boy-on-boy kissing and touching, the figure jumps to over a quarter.
Of course the study was just one school district in Michigan. “Our schools are different,” right?
High-school hazing and bullying used to involve name-calling, towel-snapping and stuffing boys into lockers. Now, boys sexually abusing other boys is part of the ritual. More than 40 high school boys were sodomized with foreign objects by their teammates in over a dozen alleged incidents reported in the past year, compared with about three incidents a decade ago, according to a Bloomberg review of court documents and news accounts. . . .
Among them, boys were raped with a broken flagpole outside Los Angeles; a metal concrete-reinforcing bar in Fontana, California; a jump-rope handle in Greenfield, Iowa; and a water bottle in Hardin, Missouri, according to court rulings and prosecutors.
Don’t focus just on those California cases. Greenfield, IA, and Hardin, MO, are both classic small town America. Both are 97 percent white, and around 80 percent Protestant. Hardin is 47 percent Southern Baptist. Stereotypes won’t provide much rhetorical escape here.
In general, “About 4,000 sexual assaults occur each year inside U.S. public schools, as well as 800 rapes or attempted rapes, according to a letter the U.S. Education Department sent to educators in April 2011.”
And school grounds seem to be the most popular place for such activity. According to the same study, “peer-on-peer sexual assault is most likely to occur on school grounds.” Around half of all incidents reported took place there.
Recent attention has arisen due to a case in Norwood, CO, population 500. According to a Bloomberg report, “At the state high-school wrestling tournament in Denver last year, three upperclassmen cornered a 13-year-old boy on an empty school bus, bound him with duct tape and sodomized him with a pencil.”
Two of the offenders were sons of the wrestling coach, and the victim was the son of the K-12 principal.
But the coach was also president of the school board. When the principal notified police of the attack (as he was required to do by law), “townspeople forced him to resign. Students protested against the victim at school, put ‘Go to Hell’ stickers on his locker and wore T-shirts that supported the perpetrators. The attackers later pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges, according to the Denver district attorney’s office.”
While the boys were eventually charged by the district attorney, the school superintendent gave them only a one day suspension. The coach in this case kept his job and received only a mild reprimand for leaving students unsupervised.
WBUR cites another Bloomberg investigator, Jonathan Kauffman:
“We have a lot of awareness these days about sexual abuse involving adults—Penn state and other places,” Kaufman said. “But there still seems to be the sense, especially in schools or colleges, that when these incidents happen it’s part of ‘boys being boys,’ or let’s take care of it internally. And so you’ll have authority figures, including coaches, who either turn a blind eye or in fact encourage it.”
Coaches seem to make a disproportionate number of appearances in these boy-on-boy cases: “In at least four cases of sodomy hazing last year, the coach or supervising teacher was alleged to have known about it, ordered it, witnessed it or laughed about it, according to police reports and court filings.” That makes up about a third of the cases mentioned.
So, maybe it’s not just Sandusky. Maybe it’s something deeper. Maybe there’s a Sandusky syndrome, and a Paterno syndrome—to know and do nothing about it.
Maybe it’s even worse. Maybe the declining morality and the increasing denigration of humanity and sexuality derived from the teachings of evolution (“C’mon baby, you know we’re just animals. . . .”) is creating a whole generation of Sanduskys, and yet the political and economic forces at work are perpetuating a whole generation of Paternos who won’t act to stop it.
Maybe the powerful draw of sports at public schools which keeps so many Christians sending their children to public schools tends to cause them to turn a blind eye to the immorality at the root of the system—i.e., coercion. Immorality breeds immorality. When you subsidize something, you get more of it.
Yeah, but, go Raiders! Go Pirates!
There are raiders and pirates alright.
And maybe the huge numbers of Christians working in and paid by the system are incentivized more to protect the system from bad PR than to seek biblical answers to the issue of education.
Maybe under the guise of having your children properly socialized, they’ll end up properly sodomized instead.
There is, it seems, the potential for, and the increase of, little Sanduskys in every school. The system breeds them and protects them.
You can deny it for a long time, but the truth will get out eventually. Public morality will change, and you will be forced either to change your morality along with, or to stand for the truth and the tough decisions that come with it.