Parents and Students Impacted by Teacher's Child Porn Accusations need to Discuss Issues

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Allegations against a Newman Catholic High School teacher and coach of possessing child pornography, have many parents and students struggling to deal with the situation.

A counselor says while difficult to discuss, it brings awareness to mental health issues, so many people in our community face.

"Its always a tough conversation to have with your children when they have a teacher or a leader of some sort, do inappropriate actions," Shipway said.

Lee Shipway of Peaceful Solutions Counseling says the situation surrounding 50-year-old Michael Switalski needs to be discussed by families.

"So if I was a parent of a child at Newman, I would say, 'oh, we saw this on the news, how are you feeling about that, what are you thinking about that,'" Shipway said, "and I would start with what the child has to say about their thoughts and feelings."

It's these discussions, no matter how difficult, that teach kids a pretty valuable lesson.

"You want your children to be aware of people out there that could do bad things to them."

Michael Switalski is charged with eight counts of possessing child pornography after court documents show nearly 100 inappropriate images were found at his Wausau home.

The documents also show Switalski bought some videos from a Canadian company called Azov Films that was investigated back in 2011.

Police seized hundreds of images and films, and the names and adresses of customers, which reportedly included Switalski.

While Shipway doesn't defend Switalski's alleged actions, she says this serves as an opportunity for everyone in our community to realize how serious addiction can be.

"We hold teachers to a higher standard, and we should; and we hold other leaders to higher standards and we should," Shipway said "and yet that's the rub and the juxtaposition, is that those leaders and those teachers are still human beings. and all human beings are flawed. and we all have issues."

And that the negative stigma surrounding it, is something we can change.

"As a community, if we really want to help our community, we need to help this teacher, and we need to help other individuals who have substance abuse issues or mental health issues."


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