Parents of children attending Sacred Heart School and all Catholic grade schools in the Jefferson City Diocese are being required to undergo training to spot and report the abuse of minors before this school year.

According to The Catholic Missourian, Bishop W. Shawn Mc­Knight put the requirement in place last October after a yearlong reevaluation of the diocese's safe environment policies.

Employees of the diocese including priests, deacons, other religious and volunteers completed the training last fall. However, parents and guardians of grade school students who aren't active volunteers are being asked to complete the training before the beginning of the school year. Volunteers will also be subject to a background check and asked to affirm the Diocesan Code of Pastoral Conduct.

Bishop McKnight told the Catholic Missourian, “We need every adult to be able to recognize the signs of abuse and follow appropriate protocols when ministering to young people."

Dr. Erin Vader, superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Jefferson City diocese, according to the Catholic Missourian, wrote to parents last spring said the requirement wasn't arbitrary but was being asked of parents as the diocese moves towards a stewardship model. In a stewardship model, all parishioners and school parents are asked to be involved in pledging time to advance the Church mission.

I went to Catholic School and I think it's a great policy to employ. Throughout my years attending a Catholic elementary school, I came into contact with many parents. And really, it was just assumed that whatever room mother, lunch monitor, Cub Scout den mother, or parent you ran into would be looking out for you. Not to mention when we were all out in the neighborhood playing with each other. And that was true.

I still think it's probably true. Especially in smaller communities like Sedalia. That said, I think giving parents the tools to recognize and report the abuse of children is a good thing. Maybe it's something that should be required for parents of all school children?

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