Experts advise parents on how you should talk to your kids about sexual misconduct in school

Monique John Image
Saturday, January 14, 2023
Parents share concern following alleged abuse in Cumberland Co Schools
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Cases of alleged abuse from educators in Cumberland County Schools are drawing deeper scrutiny of the district.

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- Cases of alleged abuse from educators in Cumberland County Schools are drawing deeper scrutiny from the district.

Meanwhile, parents are challenged with how to talk with their children about misconduct in schools.

The latest case of alleged abuse is coming out of Pine Forest High School in Fayetteville. Former teacher's assistant Brittany Nicole McKoy was arrested Thursday on suspicion of allegedly assaulting a person with a disability, according to the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office.

The sheriff's office said a student was involved; people say it draws concern about who's being allowed near their children.

"You have to be careful," said Emma Benson.

On Tuesday, Thurston Robinson, a volunteer girls' basketball coach at Terry Sanford High School, was arrested for sexual battery and indecent conduct with a student. Cumberland County Schools said employees and volunteers undergo background checks conducted by Background Investigation Bureau, LLC.

CCS released a statement saying:

"Unfortunately, even the most comprehensive of criminal records searches cannot predict whether an individual with an otherwise clean criminal record may one day commit a crime. We will continue to review and update our criminal background check processes along with other safety and security measures to keep students and staff safe in schools."

People say cases like these should motivate parents to encourage their kids to open up if something's wrong.

"You have to talk to them. Because if you don't talk to them, someone else will," said Mary Ross.

Kristie Demers of Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina advises parents to call body parts by their anatomically correct names during conversations with their children about private areas. It helps establish which body parts are intimate and off-limits to others.

She also encourages parents to talk to children about consent and to empower them to establish distance when someone makes them uncomfortable.

"Talk to your child about setting their boundaries for their body and giving consent for giving or accepting any kind of touch, including hugs, which is a big thing to do at an early and young age," Demers said. "(A)nd reassure your child at any age that they should always tell a trusted adult if someone makes an inappropriate comment about their private parts."