Franklin Regional to host forum on sexual abuse
Franklin Regional will host a forum on the prevention of sexual abuse for parents of high school students Thursday evening.
Representatives from Greensburg-based Blackburn Center Against Domestic & Sexual Violence will give a presentation to interested parents and community members, discussing what constitutes sexual abuse, what a pedophile is, red flags and other signs of sexual abuse.
The district requested the forum, said Beth Babyak, education and outreach program manager at Blackburn. The organization partners with all 17 Westmoreland County school districts to provide information sessions in the schools, but Franklin Regional is the first in several years to host a forum geared toward parents and community members, she said.
“With everything that has been in the news with (the Jerry) Sandusky case, the Catholic Church and other incidents, we want to tell them what the Blackburn Center is and how we can help,” Babyak said. “Education is one of the most important steps to prevention.”
The threat of sex-related crimes has hit home in recent years to the Franklin Regional community. In July, high school physical education and wellness teacher Bret Thompson was charged with 45 felony sex charges, including 18 counts of having unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, after being accused of having an 11-month sexual relationship with a female student.
In 2010, Franklin Regional High School social studies teacher Terry Flaherty was charged and convicted of sending sexually explicit text messages to a male student. Both teachers resigned from the district after charges were filed.
Blackburn has hosted classroom sessions at Franklin Regional at all grade levels for several years, Babyak said. Superintendent Emery D'Arcangelo said the district is pleased to have a strong relationship with the center.
“Periodically, we review the programs and — with input from the members of our Guidance Department — make appropriate additions and adjustments,” D'Arcangelo said. “Given the nature and sensitivity of this very important topic, we believe that a parent-awareness program is appropriate at this time and does dovetail with other programs that we provide. We are pleased that the Blackburn Center is able and willing to prepare a presentation for our parents.”
Babyak said Thursday's session will specifically focus on the same topics handled during classroom presentations at the high school. Blackburn doesn't want to scare parents or students — the center simply wants them to be aware of what can happen.
“Knowledge is always power, that's the old cliché,” Babyak said. “It's about being aware of the possibilities. This can happen anywhere, anytime. You don't want to scare people, but you want to make people aware. “
For more information on the Blackburn Center, see www.blackburncenter.org. For information or to talk with someone about an issue, call the Blackburn hotline at 724-836-1122.
Daveen Rae Kurutz is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8627, or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.