Greetings to all ballet enthusiasts and concerned parents alike. I am Marie Walton-Mahon OAM, a dance educator with 50 years of experience, and today, I write to you with a heartfelt plea to safeguard our children in the world of dance education.
In this fast-paced world, critical issues often go unnoticed, but one matter that demands our immediate attention is bullying and other forms of abuse in dance education.
This is not a call for overprotective parenting but an earnest request for awareness, sensitivity, and proactive vigilance.
Consider these crucial questions:
Does your dance school have a clear and published policy on bullying? Are they adequately prepared to handle online harassment, dressing-room conflicts, or emotional manipulation from teachers with abuse of power? It's time to face these harsh realities head-on.
A recent incident forced the closure of a school due to the grooming of young students, serving as a chilling wake-up call. Alarming trends in child abuse are on the rise, and it's our responsibility to be the voices for the voiceless, standing up for our most vulnerable.
I have witnessed parents turning a blind eye to these issues, tempted by the allure of potential fame for their child. I cannot stress this enough: every child is a precious gift, and teachers must prioritize their protection, respect, and well-being. Pursuing a child's potential should never come at the expense of their safety.
To create a safe and nurturing environment, dance education must adopt a holistic approach that addresses physical training and emotional and psychological safety. Every dance class must be founded on respect, dignity, and compassion.
I understand this is an uncomfortable conversation, but it is necessary. Sweeping these issues under the carpet is not an option because every child deserves safeguarding. They have the right to learn, grow, and explore their passion in a supportive and secure setting.
Join me in raising awareness about these crucial matters. Our most vulnerable are at risk, and the impact of negligence can scar them for life. Let's unite in striving for change, advocating for safe spaces, and working together to protect our children in the world of dance education. Their futures depend on it.