It's not about Paterno's legacy, it's about child abuse

November 10, 2011

Today we have witnessed a complete and total failure of the American higher education system ("Paterno fired," Nov. 10).  I am embarrassed that the educational system that I am a part of was responsible for affecting the lives of children in a negative way, not the positive ways that the good people in my field strive to do on a daily basis. This appalling scandal is not about touchdowns, a coaching legend’s fall from grace, or money, this about breaching the trust that every parent that sends their child to college expects from us as educators. 

Every person in higher education has a moral responsibility and expectation to protect the young men and women we interact with on a daily basis. We are expected to protect and nurture their children the same way we would protect and nurture our own children. Today one of our great nation’s largest institutions of higher learning admitted that they failed in their moral obligation and responsibility to protect the children that their parents entrusted to us. They failed in properly investigating the claims brought before them and allowed a sexual predator repeated access to a venue to commit disgusting crimes on the most precious resource we can as human beings can create, our children.

We are witnessing one of the largest, if not the largest, failures in the history of the American higher education system. Young and innocent children appear to have been abused at the hands of an evil monster, inside the walls of a place that is supposed to teach and develop the future leaders of the world. 

Time heals all wounds, and God forgives, but If you are Graham Spainer, Tim Curley, Joe Paterno, Gary Schultz or anybody else that possessed knowledge that this was taking place, tonight I hope you understand that as former leaders the in the field of higher education, you are considered by your colleagues to be counted among the biggest failures in the history of this profession.  I hope that the victims of these horrible acts find peace and closure one day and they have the will and determination to overcome the pain and suffering they have received by the hands of a morally corrupt and disgusting human being. 

Stephen Marengo, Towson

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