'Good Touch, Bad Touch' Program Starts in Catholic Schools This Week

By Justin Wilfon
WAVE 3 [Louisville KY]
September 23, 2004

(LOUISVILLE, September 23rd, 2004, 4 p.m.) -- Louisville Catholic school students are now learning about sex abuse, but those involved say it's about much more than the abuse in the Catholic church. The program is called "Good Touch, Bad Touch," and it's starting this week. WAVE 3's Justin Wilfon reports.

Students at St. Martha's school are learning much more than just math or science. It's the first Louisville Catholic school to teach the Good Touch, Bad Touch program.

"I think it gives them a lot of information and lets them know what good touches and bad touches are," said Sharon Dutton, St. Martha's Principal. "And I like the way they describe them in the program."

Atlanta-based educator Pam Church created the program, and she arrived in Louisville this week to get it started here.

She's seen it work many other places already.

"We've had many kids come forward who are being hurt, but we've also had a couple kids come forward who are hurting other kids and wanted to know how to stop," said Church.

The program includes grade appropriate lessons for kindergarten, third grade, and fifth grade.

"I think she's trying to teach us to be safe if someone tries to sexually abuse us, like if they trick us to do it," said third-grader Anthony Kaelin.

"Today we talked about the telephone and how sometimes we should and should not answer it," said third-grader Jenna Beck. "If we're home alone, we might not answer it.

Church developed the program in 1983, and she says teaching it at a Catholic school has nothing to do with the Catholic church sexual abuse scandal.

"This is not a priest problem," said Church. "This is a human being problem that has existed way before we even had priests. I mean this goes way back historically before we even had a Catholic church."

She says it's about the kids, and how to protect them.

"It's their body and they have the right to know all the ways to keep it safe," Church said. "Whether it's fire prevention, street prevention or somebody's inappropriate behavior, they have the right to the best life they can live."

Catholic school counselors are also sitting in on Church's lessons. They'll eventually teach it at all of Louisville's Catholic elementary schools.

The Archdiocese of Louisville received a $20,000 grant from the Child Victims Trust Fund to help pay for the program.


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.