Block That Hug

The rules on touching children have changed for parents who volunteer as coaches or tutors

A recent front-page story out of Maryland presented a nightmarish scenario for teachers and other adults who work with children as volunteer coaches, tutors or scout leaders. The story concerns a gym teacher who was accused of sexual misconduct--hugging, fondling and sexual remarks--by seven middle-school students. The teacher's reputation, unblemished through 32 years in the classroom, was in ruins--until the kids eventually recanted their stories.

While the incidence of false accusation is extremely rare--less than 1% of sexual-abuse accusations prove unfounded, according to Federal Government estimates--the Maryland case highlights the great care that adults who work with children should take not...

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