On August 2nd, teachers and staff new to schools in The Lutheran Schools Partnership were invited to participate in a day of professional development to help them meet some of the requirements set forth for school staff by the State of Indiana. This day of training was filled with topics that aren’t easy to hear about or discuss- suicide, child abuse, and human trafficking. Our world is hurting, and our youth are showing the signs. It is vital for our schools to have people trained to recognize those who need help, and to share the love of Christ with all.
Teachers and school staff first participated in QPR: Question, Persuade, Refer training on suicide awareness and prevention. They heard the sobering statistics on suicide rates in Indiana, which include a rise in suicide each of the last twelve years. Unfortunately, statistics indicate that this problem is on the rise among young people. QPR training meets Indiana’s requirement to have staff trained in an evidence-based approach to recognizing those who are at risk, reaching out, finding resources, and connecting people in need with appropriate help.
The topic of our second training was child abuse and neglect, provided for us by Stop Child Abuse and Neglect (SCAN) of Fort Wayne. As mandatory reporters of child abuse and neglect, teachers must be informed about what to look for and how to respond. Again, sad statistics were shared about the prevalence of child abuse and neglect in Indiana. However, critical information was shared that could save lives.
The final training of the day was a relatively new one to the list of requirements for our school staffs, human trafficking. Unfortunately, as many have heard in the local news, the Fort Wayne area is not immune to the dangers of human trafficking. Human trafficking includes any time a person transports or sells another person for the purposes of forced labor or sexual exploitation. The Indiana Trafficking Victims Assistance Program provided the training, which focused on warning signs that someone is in danger of falling victim to trafficking, or has already done so.
What heavy topics for our new staff members to hear about, but sadly, how necessary. We live in a sinful world, and our Lutheran Schools are not immune to it. However, in our Lutheran schools, we are able to approach these topics with the knowledge that our God is more powerful than any of the challenges we face in this world. Our loving God gives us hope, provides mercy and forgiveness, and promises never to leave us or forsake us.