Created on Friday, 11 November 2011 Written by Linda MacGillivray Bellefontaine
My 18-year-old son has grown up a huge fan of Penn State football and Joe Paterno. He and I are now watching ESPN with great sadness. We both agree that the adults who knew about the child abuse could have done more to stop it. It would have been morally and ethically the right thing to do to speak up. However, I don't believe this is an isolated incident of adults failing to protect innocent children.
In over 20 years of legal practice dedicated to child welfare, I am sad to say I have been frustrated numerous times by adults who failed to protect children. I have been told "I prefer not to get involved," or "I won't have to testify will I?," or "it's my neighbor, I have to live beside them" or "that would make it uncomfortable with my job."
As adults, I believe we are morally, ethically and spiritually responsible to look after innocent children that cannot protect themselves. It may make us uncomfortable or it may be inconvenient, but we should report what we know because it is simply the right thing to do.
Perhaps this Penn state tragedy will be a wakeup call to us all. Those who can protect should.