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Child abuse reports could rise as area students return to class

Published: Sep. 3, 2020 at 1:14 PM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - Child abuse reports could rise as thousands of area students return to the classroom next week for the first time since March, Waco police say.

Teachers, counselors and campus administrators know the students well because they see the children every school day and they’re often the ones who first spot signs of abuse and report it, Waco police Officer Garen Bynum said.

“A lot of times these teachers and these counselors are the first responders for these kids, and so they’re absolutely a vital part of these kids’ lives,” Bynum said.

The number of cases assigned to the department’s Crimes Against Children Unit has dropped since students were sent home in March, but Bynum says that doesn’t mean abuse hasn’t decreased.

“We want numbers to go down in child crime,” Bynum said.

“But the reality is the crimes probably have not gone down, they’re probably just not being reported the same.”

Parents and other adults are the likely abusers, and they’re not likely to report the abuse themselves, he said.

But as students return to the classroom next week, reports could rise as teachers and counselors discover signs of the abuse of students whom they’ve not seen in person in six months.

Copyright 2020 KWTX. All rights reserved.

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