I am the P in G.P.A.(Grace Hudek, Peggy Delgado Fava & Ashley Neuman), the three independent moms who ran for Nevada County Board of Education against the four California Teachers Association candidates (Louise Johnson, Susan Clarabut, Timothy May and Julie Baker).
Once I decided to run, negative attacks against me and the two other moms began. In a mass email on Oct. 27 to local voters, three former superintendents (Terry McAteer, Skip Houser, Holly Hermansen) accused my and Ashley’s advocacy work with CSECT (Commercial Sexually Exploited Children/Teens) as a “conspiracy theory.”
McAteer and Area 2 opponent, May, repeatedly mocked this work calling child victims “sex slaves” on social media on Sept. 29 and Sept. 30. Ashley brought one of the first human trafficking prevention curriculums to Nevada County years ago. Our opponents and their local supporters publicly questioned whether child sex trafficking was even a problem locally.
Key risk factors for child sexual exploitation are early child abuse, poverty, substance abuse, foster and juvenile justice involved youth. Nevada County has a higher rate of child abuse (KidsData.org) than the state average.
It is tragic that three former superintendents and all the CTA-backed candidates are either oblivious to this rising problem or indifferent to its reality. I advocated for AB-1227, and work with the co-authors regularly. California is the first state to require human trafficking prevention education, and training for teachers and students.
It is shameful long-term educators aren’t aware of the mandatory human trafficking education law, AB-1227. Why?
The average age of entry into sex trafficking is 12 to 13 years old. According to the U.S. Department of Education (guide on preventing child trafficking): “School personnel are uniquely positioned to identify and report suspected abuse and connect students to services — actions that can prevent trafficking and even save lives.”
These entrenched bureaucrats will oversee our local county schools, juvenile hall and Earle Jamieson. These are the students who are the most at risk for exploitation.
The organization I founded is part of SacramentoTogether.org, an anti-human trafficking coalition that includes law enforcement, district attorney’s offices, probation and social service agencies and service providers serving the greater Sacramento region. My organization is also part of a Dignity Health-sponsored trauma team collaborative through Family Justice Center.
Nevada County children deserve better than spiteful bureaucrats who mock “child sex slaves.”
Due to the COVID-19 lockdown, all our kids are at a high risk for exploitation from online predators. I strongly recommend all local school staff and administrators get educated on child sexual exploitation before they continue to discount it as “conspiracy theories,” putting more of our kids at risk. I can recommend multiple programs to help fill this shameful gap in knowledge exhibited by McAteer, Hermansen, Houser, May, Johnson, Clarabut and Baker.
Just last week, I helped facilitate the release of a former child sex trafficked victim from a California prison who I first met in Juvenile Hall. The victim was sex trafficked at the age of 13. Her public school safety net failed her. Juvenile hall rehabilitation was nonexistent and sadly resulted into the school-to-prison pipeline.
My client’s ordeal was featured in a Los Angeles Times article: “This sex trafficking victim is behind bars, suicidal. She seeks Newsom’s clemency.”
I am proud of the work I have done and continue to do. After these local entrenched educators mocked the very real problem of child sex trafficking and the pain endured by many California victims, I understood why this problem has not been addressed properly by Nevada County school leaders — they are in denial.
Academic bureaucrats like this are the problem. This tragic realization fuels me to impact my local community with solutions, not more rhetoric.
In January 2021, Ashley and I will lead a forum to educate our community on this tragic problem. I strongly urge local school educators, board members and administrators attend.
I thank The Union for the opportunity to respond. Many thanks to the thousands of supporters who looked past the vicious rhetoric and saw value in my campaign for Nevada County School Board.
Peggy Delgado Fava is a victim advocate, founder and CEO of Bridge Network Organization. She also was a Nevada County Board of Education candidate for Area 1. She lives in Auburn.