May 13, 2004
Teachers at Meyer Elementary School in Tempe became the first in the state Wednesday to watch a new video about child abuse and their obligation to report it.
"We’re doing everything we can to educate people on the front lines," said Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne, who attended the screening of "Abused Kids: See It! Stop It!"
Horne said the state has seen too many cases of child abuse that might have been prevented if teachers had reported their suspicions, and the video produced by Phoenix-based GO Media Cos. will help prevent such cases in the future.
The 30-minute video includes statistics, images of wounds inflicted on children and an interview with a doctor who examines the bodies of children killed by abusers. The video reassures teachers that they do not need to see proof of abuse before they report their suspicions.
"A report is not an accusation, but a request to investigate," the narrator says.
Arizona Public Service Co. has provided funding to send the video to about 1,000 schools statewide, including all East Valley districts except Apache Junction, Higley, Mesa and Queen Creek unified. Child Abuse Prevention Arizona, a nonprofit organization, is working on raising funds to provide copies to the remaining districts.
Meyer principal Howard Oechsner said his staff receives training on child abuse prevention at the start of each school year, and the new video would serve as "a nice follow-up."
He said the high-profile case at Mesa’s Mountain View High School, where two administrators face criminal charges of failing to report allegations of sexual abuse, has raised awareness.
According to the Child Welfare League of America, Arizona ranks fifth nationally in the rate of children with substantiated reports of abuse and neglect, almost twice the national average.
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For more information, visit www.seeitstopit.com