Carson City schools draft strict sex abuse policy | NevadaAppeal.com

Carson City schools draft strict sex abuse policy

by Teri Vance, Appeal Staff Writer

Banking on the notion that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, Carson City school board members are drafting a strict policy against adult sexual misconduct toward students.

“I am very thankful we haven’t had any of these cases, but we don’t want any adult to do anything that could even be misconstrued as sexual abuse,” said Carson City School District Superintendent Mary Pierczynski. “We certainly won’t tolerate any of it.”

She said the recent national spotlight on sexual abuse of children prompted district officials to take a stand against it.

“All school districts have been advised to have formal policies in place and to review those policies with their employees,” she said. “We are just trying to remind all employees of our responsibility as adults toward our students.”

Board members will discuss a first draft of the policy at today’s meeting.

A law passed in 1998 makes it a felony for any adult employed by a school district to have sex with a student, although the legal age of consent in Nevada is 16.

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According to Stop Educator Sexual Abuse (SESAME), 37 school employees in Nevada have been charged with sex crimes against students since 1994.

The latest was a former girls’ varsity basketball team coach at Dayton High School.

Desi Navarro, 27, was sentenced to five years’ probation last week after admitting to having sex with a 16-year-old player on his team.

Of those charged with sexual abuse, seven were sentenced to prison. Eighteen received probation, and five were not prosecuted. The records of one person were sealed.

Students who are abused by educators have a higher rate of suicide and suicide attempts and an increased tendency toward alcoholism, drug addiction and eating disorders.

IF YOU GO

What: Carson City school board meeting

When: 6 tonight

Where: Carson City Community Center, Sierra Room, 851 E. William St.