by Steve Dunford

I have spent 25 years being a substitute teacher.  I have a teaching degree in High School Social Studies.  There have been times that subbing has been extra income when I have held down a full time job.  This upcoming school year it will be a supplement to the income I receive from working on the website.  There is something that will be perfect for me that is hard to fill at time, half days.

Part of the reason I majored in education, was aspirations to be a basketball coach.  Covering sports, especially high school basketball, fulfills me beyond measure.  The main reason I was an education major at SIU, is that I love kids.  I have not came across a teacher, administrator, or someone who works in a school that does not love kids dearly.  Most teachers, especially at the elementary level, become very attached to their kids.

The lowest of the low in society, is someone that abuses a child, especially sexually.  The innocence of childhood is robbed.  As a former pastor, a sub, and as a friend of adults who where exploited  as a child, it breaks my heart.  Several adults have confided in me about their rough childhood.  I have never been surprised, it is something that I can just tell.  Maybe it is a God given gift.

I am still an ordained Southern Baptist preacher.  (I do not like Reverend or Minister, I feel unworthy to be called that)  Because of my background I am a Mandated Reporter times two.

There are scars that will haunt them for life.   The only way that a victim can overcome the terror they went through is the power of the Holy Sprit through Christ.  I unapologetically share my faith.  If you are a victim of the most inhumane thing that can happen to you, there are several verses in the Bible that say you can be an overcomer.  But at the same time, it could happen to you.   Here is the verse that I would like to share;

Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.  (Romans 8:37 KJV.)

Today, by a report from Brandon Richard of WSIL-TV, there were a lot of questions why someone from a coastal town in the Florida Panhandle would call in bomb threats twice to the Sesser-Valier school district.

Franklin County Sheriff’s Office photo

I hope Gabriel Estrada realizes the fear he caused on the northwest corner of Franklin Countym with his bomb threats.  There were multiple law enforcement agencies and emergency officials, called to the scene each time.  There were lost educational opportunities.  Parents had to scramble for child care.  His foolishness caused a mess.

With the child pornography charges, he used strong arm techniques, with threats.  He befriended minors using online games.  Please, I beg you please,  monitor your children’s internet usage and online gaming activities.  Do not let them make friends unless you know them.  Do not let them have Facebook profiles until the age of 13, the age Facebook allows.   For my son, it was a right of passage to be a teenager.  As long as your child is under your roof, it is your business who he or she talks to, or who they hang out with.

Lets face it, he ruined some young lives.  With him calling in bomb threats to Sesser-Valier, I assume the victims were from that school district.  If that was the case, he threatened to blow up their school.  No telling what other threats he made.  I just pray the children he had contact with, get the proper counseling.

You can read the multiple press releases on the website.  There was a great coordination from state, county, local police and Sesser-Valier school officials to lead to this arrest.  Our hats need to be off to them.

I pray that Franklin County States Attorney Evan Owens will seek the maximum penalty for their crimes.  Estrada deserves to be a ward of the Department of Corrections, for a long time.




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