How Should Teachers Understand The Abuse Theology Religion Essay Example
How Should Teachers Understand The Abuse Theology Religion Essay Example

How Should Teachers Understand The Abuse Theology Religion Essay Example

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  • Pages: 10 (2700 words)
  • Published: October 6, 2017
  • Type: Essay
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The issue of maltreatment in schools has been a significant concern throughout Irish history. Recalling past experiences in schools often brings up painful memories of the harsh treatment received from teachers, principals, and other authority figures. On May 11, 1999, former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern delivered an apology to victims of child abuse in Ireland during the 20th century at the Aislinn Education Centre for the FETAC's Award ceremony. The government sincerely expressed their apology on behalf of the State and its citizens for failing to intervene and acknowledge their pain. The Report of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse (known as the Ryan Report) was published on May 20, 2009, marking a distressing event in Ireland's recent history. This report revealed a list of appalling wrongdoings inflicted upon children placed in residential establishments run by religious orders with assis


tance from the State. It served as a public record exposing these terrible acts to the world.

In his Commission's Report, Mr Justice Sean Ryan stressed the importance of taking action to ensure that children are listened to, respected, and safeguarded from all forms of abuse. There have been significant advancements in policies and laws aimed at enhancing child safety in both state care and other settings. The Ryan Commission of Inquiry will reshape Ireland's history during the 20th century. The report's findings have challenged previously unquestioned institutions. To gain a comprehensive understanding of the extensive abuse in educational institutions in 20th-century Ireland, it is crucial to examine not only the physical punishment inflicted on children but also the emotional and sexual abuse that caused immense suffering for many students. The issue of physical abuse encompasses multiple

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factors and experiences that warrant further discussion.

In this essay, we will delve into the factors indicating maltreatment in the name of learning, as well as the negligence of educational authorities and other individuals in positions of power towards blatant violations of their regulations. Additionally, we will explore the emotional abuse prevalent during this time period and examine the consequences of these heinous crimes, with specific reference to the significant contributions of Bruce Arnold. Lastly, we will discuss the sexual abuse that occurred in certain educational institutions in twentieth-century Ireland. This section will present damning facts from various studies that highlight the full extent of the offenses committed during this era.

The maltreatment in St Joseph's Industrial School in Artane and the industrial school in Letterfrack will be specifically mentioned. Throughout much of the 20th century, physical abuse of children was widely tolerated, even to extremes that would now be considered abusive by today's standards. In the past, there was little awareness that physical punishment could be harmful or have long-lasting negative effects on children. It was commonly believed that "a good whipping never hurt anyone" and that some physical punishment was necessary to teach respect for authority, maintain discipline, and raise "good citizens". The prevailing assumption was that students learned through fear of consequences rather than a love for their subjects or a desire for knowledge (Maguire and O Cinneide 2005). Social reformists recognized how vulnerable children were to mistreatment and neglect during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

In Edwardian England, reformists such as Charles Booth and Sebohm Rowntree aimed to measure poverty and analyze its causes and characteristics. As a result, all the nineteenth-century

laws pertaining to this topic were replaced by the Children Act, 1908, commonly referred to as the Children's Charter. This Act addressed the prevention of cruel treatment towards children, safeguarding infant life, and provisions for juvenile delinquency. However, the most significant provisions of the Act were found in Part IV, establishing the legal basis for industrial schools and reform schools (The Ryan Report 2009).

Many of the individuals who were abused were consistently denied justice in the courts. In the 1980s, even a one-year delay in reporting could prevent prosecution. The lack of consideration for the voices of children in review reports and court proceedings, along with negative attitudes towards vulnerable and abused children, demonstrate how attitudes towards children influenced responses to abuse. Reports on child abuse, such as the Ryan Report, emphasize that the law did not apply equally to all members of Irish society (Holohan 2011). It is important to note that the practice of physically assaulting individuals to instill respect was not only common in schools but also prevalent throughout Irish society as a whole, including within families.

After establishing the reasons for maltreatment, this essay will now delve into how those in positions of authority handled complaints and subsequent actions. It is clear that the Department of Education, teachers, and school administrators responded to complaints in a way that demonstrated their knowledge of violating the Department's rules. Additionally, the Department often chose to overlook serious violations instead of taking action that could challenge the authority of teachers, school administrators, or principals. From examining available complaint records, it can be concluded that the Department was generally unresponsive to complaints and hesitated to hold themselves

or school staff accountable for breaking physical punishment rules (Maguire and O Cinneide 2005). As previously mentioned in Bertie Ahern's speech, one reason for the secrecy surrounding this maltreatment was successive governments' failure to acknowledge how responsible state entities are for abuse. The state and society failed to recognize that many children were confined in places where they were mistreated and not valued. Having established these violations of existing regulations, this essay will now discuss some cited reasons for instances of abuse (Source: The Office of Bertie Ahern, 2009).

Despite the formal constitutional separation of church and State, the Catholic hierarchy had a unique position among pressure groups in Irish society. By the 1950s, the Catholic Church had unparalleled power due to its influence on both the Catholic population and Catholic members of government (Holohan 2011). According to the Murphy (Dublin) Report, it was this prominent and influential role of the Catholic Church in society that allowed these abuses to go unchecked. A comparison between the language used by the Department of Education in 1965, which warned against administering physical punishment for mere failure at lessons, and a regulation from 1946 that explicitly stated that physical punishment should never be administered for mere failure at lessons, is instructive (Maguire and O Cinneide 2005). The new regulations appear to have been less clear and potentially more open to abuse than previous rules, causing concerns among opponents of physical punishment (Maguire and O Cinneide 2005).

The essay will now discuss the emotional abuse that occurred in some educational establishments in twentieth-century Ireland. In The Irish Gulag: How the State Betrayed its Innocent Children, Bruce Arnold documents the overwhelming evidence

of the Irish State's involvement in improper acts of such magnitude that it shook not only Irish society but also the world. Arnold analyzes how the State not only sanctioned but also incarcerated numerous children, subjecting them to brutal suffering and slavery, and depriving them of any rights. The State's deliberate neglect and abandonment of its young citizens become apparent, contradicting its claim to be concerned about their well-being. It portrayed the children's birth parents as villains, when in reality, it was the true perpetrator (Bruce 2009).

Arnold argues that the Ryan committee failed to investigate the government's responsibility for allowing a system that caused suffering and harm to children. This lack of investigation further victimizes both those imprisoned and the nation as a whole. The abused individuals are often overlooked in terms of their legal status and continue to wait for minimal compensation. Arnold blames the government for constructing frameworks that facilitated abuse and continues to protect perpetrators from consequences while allowing the controlling institution to avoid financial punishment.

In addition, considering that physical punishment was allowed during this period, this essay will now discuss how it escalated to acts of sexual abuse.

In 1974, the Irish Union of School Students (IUSS) conducted a study called 'Corporal Punishment: The Brutal Facts' to assess the prevalence of physical punishment in primary, secondary, and vocational schools. According to the study, some teachers considered physical punishment as a normal and effective disciplinary method, while others seemed to derive pleasure from causing pain or had abnormal sexual tendencies. Although regulations were in place to govern the reasons and methods of punishing children in national schools, these rules were frequently violated. The

Department of Education showed little interest in addressing excessive physical punishment or questioning the authority of teachers and school administrators.

Research published by the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland in SAVI and SAVI Revisited revealed that religious figures or instructors accounted for 3.2% of child sexual abusers. In 2011, the Report of the Garda Siochana Inspectorate welcomed the introduction of formal requirements to report incidents of child sexual abuse, regardless of subsequent actions taken.

The following text outlines expectations for healthcare workers and instructors who encounter accusations or evidence related to child sexual abuse. Its purpose is to prevent cases from going unnoticed and unreported.

While acknowledging that some priests and instructors were responsible for maltreatment in educational establishments during the 20th century, it is important to recognize that the majority of these professionals were innocent and undeserving of tarnished reputations. This essay will now focus on a specific example of this maltreatment that occurred at St Joseph's Industrial School in Artane. Established in 1868 under the Industrial Schools Act (Ireland) and at the request of Cardinal Cullen, the Christian Brothers opened this school in 1870 to care for neglected, orphaned, and abandoned Roman Catholic boys. Unfortunately, numerous instances of abuse were uncovered, including sexual abuse, which the church acknowledged and deeply regretted.

The Congregation stated that they did not tolerate such behaviors and that the available evidence demonstrated that they responded appropriately according to the standards of the time, even if current standards would condemn them. Concerning the allegations of physical abuse, the Congregation argued that this issue must be considered in the historical context when corporal punishment was allowed, not only in industrial schools but also

in all schools, and was common in households throughout the country. It should be noted that the 'norms of the time' were established by the perpetrators themselves. As a result, these individuals received lenient treatment, so to speak. As Bertie Ahern remarked, child abuse in institutions in our society is an incredibly scandalous matter.

The more we discover about the horrifying activities in certain locations, the angrier we become at those responsible for the abuse and the more disappointed we feel in those who allowed it to persist. This mistreatment has been occurring for a long time, primarily taking place many decades ago before reforms were implemented in the 1970s. However, in recent years, due to various reasons, we have learned the full extent of abuse happening within institutions. The Office of Bertie Ahern (2009) questions whether this prolonged duration aligns with societal norms during that period. Based on documentary evidence, testimonies from independent witnesses, evidence presented to the Committee between September and December 2005, as well as a report by Mr Bernard Dunleavy BL commissioned by the Congregation; all describe a system of punishment and physical abuse at Artane (The Ryan Report 2009). It is important to acknowledge that Artane was not solely responsible for these abhorrent actions against children.

Another instance of child maltreatment occurred in an industrial school in Letterfrack. The environment in Letterfrack was isolated, which allowed individuals to physically and sexually abuse boys without consequences for long periods of time. The Congregation claimed to follow the rules regarding punishment and removed physical abusers from the school. However, the Congregation failed to properly investigate cases of abuse, did not punish guilty Brothers, and

did not enforce the rules governing physical punishment.

The Provincial's actions prioritized the interests of the Institution, the Congregation, and the Brother over the welfare of the boys, and consequently, the issue of sexual abuse needed to be addressed. Some Brothers at Letterfrack had previously been convicted of sexually abusing boys, while others were found to be abusers during their time at the establishment. Additionally, there were Brothers who were later discovered to have abused boys. It was therefore a reckless disregard to send known abusers to the industrial school. The way in which the Brothers who committed sexual abuse were handled demonstrates a policy aimed at protecting them, as well as the Community and the Congregation, from the consequences of abuse being exposed (The Ryan Report 2009).

The essay will now examine a major contributing factor to the logical thinking behind the occurrence of maltreatment. In residential establishments, run by spiritual orders, not only were members often allowed to freely abuse children, but abuse was made more likely by the selection of particularly unsuitable staff. Barry Coldrey explains that "old, ill and mentally unstable members" were typically 'hidden' in these establishments. He noted that the staff were untrained and "resorted to physical punishment as the only control mechanism they knew," and that "the line between acceptable punishment and abuse was unclear and vague," as were the boundaries between physical and sexual abuse (Coldrey, cited in Holohan 2011). In conclusion, the essay will now discuss how instructors should strive to comprehend the maltreatment discussed throughout this essay.

Teachers need to understand not only the nature of the events, but also the magnitude of their impact on individuals

and families. By recognizing this impact, teachers can approach the issue with more awareness and knowledge. It is important for teachers to fully comprehend the abuse that many individuals in Ireland experienced at the hands of those in positions of power during the twentieth century. They should be aware that it is the responsibility of the state to ensure justice for these individuals.

Despite the fact that instructors cannot provide this fairness themselves, they can make every effort to ensure that this abuse does not become widespread again, not only in their own classrooms but also throughout their schools and broader society. The reputation of teachers has been damaged in the eyes of many individuals due to these offenses, so it is crucial that they are aware that extremely hard work must be done in order to regain the trust of the broader society. The relationships between teachers and students might be the most important factor contributing to students' learning, so teachers must strive to eliminate any student's deliberate perspectives of their role and ensure that their students see them as accessible and helpful. The teacher should take a leadership role in shaping a comprehensive holistic view of education, focused on creating the best possible learning environment. Though challenging, teachers should understand that what may seem commonplace in the classroom today may become unheard of in the future, and therefore it is necessary to question our prevailing assumptions about what we believe will benefit the students' learning as it may impede it.

Learning must occur for valid reasons. Despite the elimination of corporate punishment, many students currently lack a desire to learn. Instead, they concentrate on offering

the answer they think is expected by the teacher rather than what they perceive as the correct answer. Although regulations are established, teachers should understand that this does not necessarily indicate their implementation.

It is the duty of the teacher to be attentive in the classroom and always aware of their students and their surroundings. This can be challenging but necessary to ensure there is no bullying and all students participate actively in classroom activities. By increasing their awareness of various signs of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, teachers can quickly identify its occurrence, thereby helping to prevent such offenses in society today. Although extensive research allows teachers to have a better understanding of the harm experienced by many individuals and families, it still doesn't fully capture the devastating impact of this abuse. Because of this, it remains extremely difficult for teachers to truly comprehend the abuse that was prevalent in some educational institutions in twentieth-century Ireland.

However, it is crucial for instructors to be aware of the signs of maltreatment to ensure that it does not become commonplace again. Article One in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) emphasizes that "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights", which individuals should always remember regardless of their profession.

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