Google's new Internet-safety program for school kids made its Florida debut recently in Cooper City. A lunchroom full of Pioneer Middle School students were shown the sometimes-complicated guide to going online and coming back in one piece.
The Internet is as much a part of school life today as three-ring binders and Dewey Decimal card catalogs were in an earlier time. The only difference: Old-time school artifacts did not moonlight as entertainment and communication media and certainly carried no risk of ruining, or even ending, young lives.
The toughest child abuse reporting law in the nation went into effect in Florida last October.
It used to be that only parents or caregivers suspected of abuse had to be reported.
Now, anyone who suspects a child is being abused or neglected is required to report it regardless of the suspect. Failure to do so could lead to a felony charge resulting in a five year prison sentence and a $5,000 fine.
The toughest child abuse reporting law in the nation went into effect in Florida last October, and the state has launched a campaign to raise awareness about the legal obligation to report suspected abuse.
The new law was introduced in response to the scandal at Penn State University. Former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was convicted of molesting children years after the abuse was discovered by staffers.
The Boy Scouts' "perversion files" have been released and the names of at least 160 Floridians are among the 1,000 former Boy Scout leaders and volunteers accused of sexually abusing Boy Scouts between 1965 and 1985.
Lawyers involved in the case say the Boy Scouts of America kept careful records of the suspects and allegations but never reported them to authorities. Many were flagged as "ineligible to volunteer."