Cheryl Nichols: recent publications

What is ‘Passing the Trash’? 5 Ways for Parents to Help Protect Children.

“Passing the Trash” is a euphemism for the practice of schools brushing allegations of sexual abuse or misconduct against teachers or school employees under a rug. Often these individuals are offered agreements in exchange for their resignation stating that the school will not inform future employers as to the allegations. This enables repeat offenders to hop from school to school unchecked and able to offend again. It’s a vicious cycle that has been well documented in districts throughout the country.

New light has been shed upon the issue in a new documentary on Hulu entitled “Keep This Between Us” by filmmaker Cheryl Nichols. In the four part series she recounts her own experience with her theater professor allegedly grooming her for a sexual relationship in high school. Her exploration reveals a systemic problem that perpetuates victim blaming while enabling would be abusers to continue preying on vulnerable students, emboldened by the inherent power differential that makes up the student teacher relationship.

While the federal government attempted to address this issue in legislation passed in 2015, the majority of states in the country have yet to adopt any meaningful strategies for implementing change that would put the safety of children above the rights of abusers to privacy. What this means for parents is that the onus is upon them to protect their own children. According to NPR, the problem is more widespread than one would think, with 10 percent of students surveyed in K-12 schools reporting some kind of sexual misconduct by school staff — of these 38 percent were elementary school aged and 56 percent high school aged. And the problem disproportionately affects minorities and children from underprivileged

child parents abuse

Cheryl Nichols

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