Metroland’s recent article “Fun with Numbers” [Newsfront,
June 16] discusses discrepancies in the numbers reported on
recidivism for sexual offenders. The data is skewed. This
is not the only area dealing with the issues of sexual abuse
and offenses where there is misinformation.
Let’s consider Megan’s Law, which seems to empower parents.
It feels comforting to identify the bad guy and know where
he lives, especially with a reported 500,000 sex offenders
in the U.S.
The schools have the task of issuing letters to parents about
offenders moving into the community. Some offer educational
resources with websites providing information and statistics.
For instance, sexual abuse is in epidemic proportions—impacting
1 in 4 girls, and 1 in 6 boys. I wonder how our treatment
plans measure up for this epidemic.
Parents receive letters warning of a predator who may commit
sex crimes in the neighborhood, but the schools sending the
letters do not teach prevention.
Would a doctor tell us about an illness that could affect
our child without teaching us how to ease the symptoms or
Elementary-level programs such as Stranger Danger and Child
Lures are not nearly enough. High Schools are mandated to
teach Health which includes a unit on sexuality and lightly
covers such topics as sexual abuse. A unit within a half-year
course. Is this enough treatment or more like an aspirin for
Some schools have been under fire for not including sufficient
detail. But where do they go for guidance in implementation,
when the law is loosely written leaving the how, what and
when up to each district? Sounds like a prescription with
no pharmacy to dispense the medication, or inform on dosage
and possible side effects.
How did the schools get this responsibility in the first place?
I can only speculate that because they have access to names
and addresses it appears logical they would notify parents.
Have we entrusted schools to describe the carriers of an ailment,
but not armed them with information or authorization to assist
As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, I know how complicated
the issue is. I believe we have a false sense of security
in what exactly Megan’s Law will do. Reporting offenders is
a step in the right direction. But the next, and more important
step, is prevention.
For school-age children, prevention education could be woven
into their schools’ curriculum, teaching about healthy relationships.
Community education for parents would help but is not available
for a variety of reasons, one of which is funding.
This year’s budget cuts will affect agencies providing some
of these services, which are slated to lose 14 percent. Some
of those same agencies provide treatment to survivors ensuring
recovery to stop the cycle of victims and perpetrators.
Health costs—Medicaid dollars specifically—are a concern for
Albany County. Will there be a backlash of treatment needs
if prevention is not the priority? Is that what is happening
And, about those letters, is this information important enough
to disseminate to the general public?
We need to look at this issue more closely. What purpose is
being served by knowing where an offender is, when we don’t
have enough good information or services? Parents for Megan’s
Law is a website with some useful information, but in my opinion,
promotes a quick fix. There is no quick fix for sexual abuse.
Ask any survivor.
Parents should contact their local legislature or school board
and let them know we need better programs and more information.
Personally, I feel like that little girl who was victimized.
I know where the offender is, but don’t know what to do to
stop the abuse. It seems the offender is getting all the attention.
I hope this changes sometime in the near future.
I applaud Metroland for stepping up to the plate, and
having the courage to print some aspects of this issue.
stumbled across, and enjoyed, the “All Over the Map” review
[Art, June 9] of Josh Dorman’s current exhibit at the Lake
George Arts Project Courthouse Gallery. In response to the
comment that perhaps Josh was not showing his best works—was
represented in his Cue Gallery show last fall—I would like
to point out that just about every single work shown at Cue
was, in fact, sold. He was even pulling out works from the
basement to meet the demand. I know, I was there. And as the
proud sister of this amazing artist, I can tell you that he
has been working nonstop since then to keep up with the demand
for his work.
The comment about Josh being “that kid in your fourth-grade
class” who was always drawing was on the mark. That’s Josh,
and as I marveled at his creations when we were young kids,
I still do.
“Would You Like to See the Kids’ Menu?” (Newsfront, June 9),
we incorrectly identified Betsy Mercogliano as a midwife.
She is not; she is a doula, which is an advocate and support
person for families in their childbearing year.
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