Child Mistreatment Reports Plunge After Distance Learning Starts
The Seattle Times is reporting something that's not really been looked at since the onset of COVID, and distance learning, but it's important.
The Times, in one of it's better projects, has a section called The Education Lab. In it they tackle various topics related to children, schools, education especially since COVID began.
In a story released December 9, the paper says WA State officials indicate reports of mistreatment or potential mistreatment of children have dropped between 87 and 59 percent. Heather Furfaro, the writer, says the Department of Children, Youth and Families says after the March shutdowns, such reports went down 87 percent.
Since the start of school this fall, down 59%. Nationally, officials say such reporting is down between 40-60 percent. The reason? Without children being in school, there are fewer adults to monitor and notice physical or behavoral issues-changes in children.
Prior to COVID, how many times in the Mid Columbia have we heard reports of a child who confided in a school counselor or resource officer about abuse or threatening issues at home or outside the school? There's been a significant number.
While educators have to be careful with such allegations, it's not hard to miss physical signs of abuse in a child when they are in school. They're often accompanied by changes in behavior. This isn't to say their parents are to blame, but there are significant numbers of welfare checks conducted by authorities after a child clearly shows signs of some sort of potential abuse.
We have spoken with at least 2 Police officers, one of them a KPD middle school resource officer, who have said they spend a "significant" amount of time conducting welfare checks on students who have "disappeared" from distance learning. Not a lot of them, but enough to alarm area officials. These officers said they will get a call from a District where the teacher says the parents don't respond to emails or calls, or the student, and they haven't been 'online' in Zoom for weeks.
The officers are dispatched to the child's home just to make sure they're OK.
To read more about this issue, and the Seattle Times article, click on the button below.