Midland police talk about signs a child could be experiencing abuse

Midland police talk about signs a child could be experiencing abuse

MIDLAND, TX (KWES) - After an investigation into alleged extreme bullying and sexual misconduct that took place on a Midland school sponsored trip came to light, we wanted to know what students in bad situations can do to make sure they're not another victim.

The Midland Police Department (MPD) said child relationships with their parents is key.

"They're not alone," said Officer John Kerrigan with MPD. "They can go to somebody for some help and you're not a snitch because everyone needs some help sometimes."

Kerrigan regularly goes to schools to tell children where they can get help if they're being bullied or abused in other ways.

"We think of the school setting, you have your teacher, counselors, a coach. If not, maybe a grandparent or depending on the situation, maybe a trusted neighbor," said Kerrigan.

Kerrigan is a father himself. He said he created a strong bond with his child at an early age to encourage open communication. Kerrigan also looked out for the signs of any trouble. A child who likes school but doesn't want to go is a red flag any parent should pick up on.

"Say for example, the child takes the bus to school and now they don't want to take the bus or they walk to school and now they don't want to walk," said Kerrigan. "Or maybe the child is coming to school and their clothing or property is damaged, missing or torn up. You have to ask the child what happened."

Kerrigan said although it's hard for parents to think about, you always have to be prepared for the worst.

"You always hear that, 'That'll never happen to me.' Well those things happen to people every day that don't expect them, don't think you're immune from it, it can happen to you," said Kerrigan.

Studies show students being bullied or abused can lead to lower grades or an overall lack of academic confidence.

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