And another reason homeschooling looks better all the time (and why those folks in California need a re-hearing on that homeschooling case).

It’s an increasingly familiar scenario: An educator or coach, someone in a position of great trust, is accused of sexual misconduct with one or more students.

In Chicago, former Walter Payton College Prep basketball coach George Turner, 45, was charged recently with the criminal sexual assault and aggravated criminal sexual abuse of two 15-year-old female students.

While it’s "increasingly familiar", a study in 2004 makes one wonder how bad it must be now.

In 2004, Congress released the results of a report it had commissioned on teacher sexual misconduct. Compiled by Hofstra University Professor Charol Shakeshaft, it concluded that an estimated 4.5 million of 50 million students in American public schools "are subject to sexual misconduct by an employee of a school sometime between kindergarten and 12th grade."

It’s still a very underground sort of thing, as it mostly goes unreported.

"These cases tend to slip under the rug," said Terri Miller, president of the national organization Stop Educator Sexual Abuse, Misconduct and Exploitation. "They let teachers quietly resign and move on."

That’s possible in part, she said, because state boards aren’t required to report incidents to the U.S. Department of Education.

"One of the big problems is that you’re in a situation where the acts by themselves are very private," said Chicago personal injury attorney Joe Klest, who has represented victims of sexual abuse by teachers and coaches.

"And even though they’re involving minors, and minors can’t legally consent, they are often groomed into consenting. So you’ve got two people — one saying it happened, one saying it didn’t — and there’s very rarely any extrinsic physical evidence."

I’ve covered this before, but it bears repeating.  What I’m waiting for is a public outcry like that which followed the same issue among Catholic priests.  The cynic in me wonders how much of this goes unreported so that the public school system doesn’t look bad, which would put privatization and homeschooling in a much better light.  The Teacher’s Union should be taking the point on this, but other than issuing statements tut-tutting each incident, not much changes. 

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