Child Abuse Prevention: A Passion for SOLES Student

From Inside USD -- When was the last time you got film from your camera developed? This question may seem to be quite outdated for some, but for Derek Floyd, a graduate student at the University of San Diego’s School of Leadership and Education Sciences (SOLES), that’s the exact reason why current California child abuse laws need to be amended.

Currently in his second year in the masters program for Nonprofit Leadership and Management, Derek Floyd has spearheaded a movement to modernize laws pertaining to reporting child abuse. For the past two years, Floyd has worked with the Innocent Justice Foundation, an organization developed to work with law enforcement on the local, state, and national level to prevent internet crimes, mostly of sexual nature, against children. This passion for preventing child abuse has led Floyd to help develop a movement to change California’s laws pertaining to the reporting of child abuse.

As of now, the California Penal Code does not specify computer technicians as a group that must report any evidence of child sexual abuse that may surface during the course of normal working conditions. Floyd believes that needs to change. “We live in a different age, we live in a digital age,” said Floyd when referring to his reasoning behind the change. “This is a logical update,” Floyd believes, considering that the majority of evidence pertaining to the sexual exploitation of children is in fact found on individual’s personal computers and shared online.

As a student of USD Professor Pat Libby and Howard Wayne’s Lobbying Strategy Course, Floyd has been able to take lessons learned from the classroom and apply them to make real-world changes. Floyd, along with four other members of his course, have taken the 10-step framework outline by Professor Libby’s The Lobbying Strategy Handbook and applied it to their goal of passing updated child abuse legislation.

Some of the work that Floyd and his group have conducted along the way includes creating a coalition named CA KIDS (Keeping Innocence Digitally Safe), working with numerous District Attorneys’ offices, and partnering with Assembly Member Toni Atkins (D- San Diego) on the creation of Assembly Bill 1817 to amend the before mentioned penal code. Through these efforts, Floyd and his group members have successfully passed the bill through both houses of the California State Legislature without a single opposition vote and was signed into law on September 24, 2012.

The embodiment of USD’s Changemaker mentality found itself present with Derek Floyd and his movement to further protect children from abuse.

– Ryan Garney ‘13