Are Male Bathroom Helpers A Threat To Kids' Safety?

Should volunteer dads be allowed to take girls to the bathroom at a preschool? One mom said no, and her response has ignited a controversy.

Jenna Myers Karuvinidis runs a parenting blog that's been featured on CBS Chicago in the past. Late last month, she took to her blog to protest a policy at her daughter's preschool: parents have to volunteer on a regular basis, and volunteers' duties include taking kids to the bathroom. Dads volunteer too, which means that "while I'm at home kicking it up over laundry, my daughter is a mile away MAYBE having some dude I've never met cleaning her butt." She continued,

99% of sexual predators are men, only 1% are women and girls are over twice as likely as boys to be sexually abused.

Perhaps when my daughter is older and can better communicate we can talk about who is okay to touch what, but for my two-year-old, I want the clear idea to be "men don't go anywhere near that part of my body". Not the friend's dad at school, not the friend's dad at our house while mommy is busy hosting a BBQ. Not the new strange man in class, not the new strange man anywhere.

So she talked to officials at the school, who assured her that men would no longer take her daughter to the bathroom. They also "formed a task committee to research standard practices at other preschools and will institute a change based on that and other findings." Sounds like a measured and reasonable response to us. But not to men's rights activists on Reddit, who are now roundly lambasting Karuvindis. They also listed her as a "bigot" on Register-Her, an MRA site that also purports to list female sex offenders.

If we dial down the anti-lady rage (sample Reddit comment: "I don't always use 'cunt' to describe a woman, but when I do it's because of reasons like this"), there's actually an interesting debate to be had here. Should men be allowed to take girls — or boys — who aren't their children to the bathroom? A lot of MRAs attacked Karvunidis's 99% statistic — one even speculated that it might have come from us. It didn't — it's from a 1997 study by the Dept. of Justice. Other studies have reported different results. In one, 40% of male victims of child sexual abuse said a woman had abused them; 6% of female victims said the same.

So while female-on-female child sexual abuse appears uncommon, the gender breakdown of abusers in general remains a matter of some dispute. But gender may really be a secondary issue here — if Karvunidis is trying to teach her very young daughter that only very specific people are allowed to see her private parts (a good lesson for a child), then maybe it's not such a good idea to have a rotating cast of volunteers doing bathroom duty. Volunteers at the school get a background check and fingerprinting, but hopefully school employees go through a more stringent screening and training process. And if only staff were allowed to help kids with bathroom-type stuff, then Karvunidis could teach her daughter that only teachers can take her to the bathroom, rather than that men, in general, are dangerous. That may well be the solution that the school comes to after its review of policies at other schools, which is a sane and thoughtful first step. Look what people can do when they're not screaming at each other!

Keep Dads Out Of Preschool Potty Duty - UPDATED [High Gloss And Sauce]

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