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Penn State Scandal: Putting Kids First

11/9/2011 4:28:00 PM
Jeffrey R. Anderson

News outlets and commentators have been quick to remark on the story out of Penn State. Many have yet to address the most critical issue- the children who were abused by Sandusky. While we certainly agree that the recent scandal exposes gaps in accountability and demonstrates institutional failure, the focus now must be on the kids. Joe_Paterno.jpg

Survivors of abuse by Sandusky must know that what happened to them was not their fault. They should not have to suffer in secrecy, silence and shame. Joe Paterno and those at Penn State who did not report despite suspicions about Sandusky’s relationships with boys should reach out to the survivors.

In his statement issued today, Paterno says he is “absolutely devastated” at the news, and in hindsight, wishes he would have done more. He can do more today. Paterno can step up by stepping down. Now is the time to demonstrate the same level of commitment to children as he has in his 61-year commitment to the Penn State football program.

Rick Reilly of ESPN is right on point when he reminds us all to “Remember the Children.” This is about the boys who were abused, the children who were put at risk in Sandusky’s hands and finding them the help and support that they need. It should not be only about Paterno and his legacy but first and foremost about the kids.

I will be addressing these and other issues relating to the Penn State scandal tonight on PBS News Hour.