Yes, I read all 161 pages of the Freeh Report on the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse case at Penn State University. I read this report because everyone seems to have a comment and an opinion on this case, but very few people have read the report. It is important to have educated opinions, particularly before making public comments in this type of forum. If you are interested, you too, can read the report below.
One of the facts that I learned from the Freeh Report is that two people were eye-witnesses to the sexual abuse. One was a janitor and the other was an assistant football coach. The other fact is that at least 16 people were informed of this abuse (not all were Penn State officials), including police officers.
My overwhelming thought is that any of these individuals could have spoken up, demanded answers, held a news conference… If any had, he/she would have been heralded as a hero! It is important to note that a person doesn’t need to be in a leadership position to act responsibly and follow through. Why do we hold the assistant football coach accountable and let the janitor off easy. Is one more or less accountable for the welfare of children? We blame the president of the university and the head football coach for not doing enough, but do we have the same standards for the mom who suspected her son was abused?
My point is that we all need to act as leaders, regardless of whether or not we are in a leadership position. Had anyone of those 18 individuals demanded answers and followed through, they would have been called heroes. They would have been put on magazine covers and probably received “person of the year” honors from multiple sources. No one did, and we are left wondering why.
Let this be a lesson to you: if you encounter wrong-doing, don’t look the other way. Take action, do something about it, report it to the authorities. I understand that “no snitchin” is the unwritten code among teenagers, but the Penn State case should make us all question this code. It’s no longer okay to say, “That’s not my job.” It’s no longer acceptable to look the other way and hope that someone else will take care of the problem. The world needs more “leaders” who do the right thing and a few more heroes.
What will you do if you witness a student bullying another student?
What will you do if you witness a student cheating on a test?
What will you do if you hear a rumor that someone brought a weapon into school?
What will you do if you witness or hear about a principal/teacher who is doing something unethical?