Tonight's special guest is John Seryak from Ohio, Board Member of SESAME (Stop Educator Sexual Abuse, Misconduct & Exploitation), the leading national voice for the prevention of sexual exploitation, abuse, and harassment of students by teachers and other school staff. Ending the practice of “passing the trash,” a phenomenon where educators investigated for abuse are able to resign and get a new job at a new school, is SESAME’s top priority for ending abuse in schools. The organization works toward the following goals: increasing public awareness of educator sexual abuse by breaking the silence in a strong and united voice, fostering recovery of survivors through mutual support and access to information, and encouraging survivors of educator sexual abuse to report their offenders to local law enforcement officials and state education department credentialing offices. SESAME also insists on implementation of and adherence to child-centered educator sexual abuse policies, regulations and laws and directs attention to the maintenance of proper boundaries between school staff and students by promoting annual training, the adoption of professional standards and codes of ethics. After 35 years as a teacher John became interested in child abuse and neglect issues from the classroom teacher's perspective. Building on his academic background, he developed the Dear Teacher Project, whose mission statement embraced the need to educate classroom teachers as to the extent, degree and effects of child abuse and neglect on students in the classroom. This work culminated in the publication of Dear Teacher If You Only Knew!
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