Monday, September 26, 2011

Show and Tell

Remember when kids brought their favorite stuffed animal to school for show and tell? Teachers now face bigger challenges than equal "awwwwws" for one student's teddy bear and another's puppy.

For example, a stunned teacher in St. Louis watched her kindergarten student show his mom's crack pipe and several baggies of crack rocks to the class. The boy's mother was arrested and charged with drug possession and child endangerment.

In Pittsburgh, a kindergarten teacher found bags of heroin in a 7-year-old's backpack and locker after the student cut his finger with a razor blade. The boy told police that he got the drugs from his dad's bedroom and had given some to his friends. Parents contacted the school district when their children came home with a white substance in packets that were stamped with the words "Magic Ticket" and a drawing of a bunny coming out of a hat.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

No One Listens

He blogged about school bullying and posted a hopeful YouTube video that was called "It Gets Better, I promise!" But during National Suicide Prevention Week, Jamey Rodemeyer committed suicide after enduring years of bullying.

In middle school, the bullies attacked him online with anonymous posts filled with hate. Just two days before he ended his life, Jamey posted a message that read, "I always say how bullied I am, but no one listens."

Jamey had just started ninth grade at Williamsville North High School, which had lost another student to suicide in February 2010. One of North High's social workers said, "We really encourage kids not to use those sites if they're having a hard time because it just aggravates the situation."

Successful anti-bullying strategies, however, involve the entire school community to create a safe environment for kids like Jamey.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Abused Actor Sues Stepson

With a boyish face and 5'3" frame, it seemed like Mickey Rooney would never grow old. But, the 90-year-old Hollywood legend filed an elder abuse lawsuit against Rooney's stepson, Chris Aber, and Aber's wife, Christina, alleging financial exploitation and verbal abuse over the past ten years.

In March 2011, Rooney testified before the Senate Special Committee on Aging imploring Senators to take action against elder abuse because "if it happened to me, it can happen to anyone."

According to the complaint, Aber became a signatory on all of Rooney's personal and business financial accounts and then diverted Rooney's mail to a post office box to allow him to fund an extravagant lifestyle without Rooney's knowledge.  Under Aber's threats of financial collapse, Rooney continued to perform, earning income for unpaid taxes and credit card bills Aber incurred under Rooney's name.

Rooney's complaint also names co-conspirators, including Jessie Heuer who ran the website to market and sell unauthorized copies of items belonging to Rooney, without Rooney's consent.

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Last Straw

While patio dining at a Denver-area restaurant with "perfect ambiance," a concerned patron sprang into action instead of looking the other way.

According to news reports, our hero noticed a "cute, darling little girl" at a nearby table with her father. However, the father was more interested in his other dinner companion than his fussy toddler. 

Soon enough, concern turned to alarm when our observer watched the little girl pick up something from the ground and eat it. But, it was the final straw when our diner saw the father begin feeding the toddler "straws of margarita."

The concerned diner called the police. It turns out that the little girl's dad is himself a cop. He's now being investigated for felony child abuse.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Keep Them Safe

Definition of SHIELD
1: a broad piece of defensive armor carried on the arm
2: one that protects or defends
First Known Use: before 12th century

Definition of VULNERABLE
1: capable of being physically or emotionally wounded
2: open to attack or damage
First Known Use: 1605

Hundreds of years ago, the words "vulnerable" and "shield" were first used to describe how humans can be harmed by other humans, and how they can be protected against harm.

Over the past years, Shield The Vulnerable has provided online training to thousands of individuals and families about preventing abuse and neglect, and ways to help kids, tweens, teens, and elders stay safe. Our purpose is simple: as the number of trained individuals grows, so does the number of persons who are protected.

By being aware and reporting suspected mistreatment, everyone has the potential to help protect the vulnerable. That's what Shield the Vulnerable is about – teaching people how to recognize, report, and prevent abuse, bullying, exploitation, and neglect.