If a high school teacher suspects child abuse in a student what do they do?
Teachers are mandated reporters in every state.
Normally you would call the office of children and family services.
It used to be that you could report to a superior and be done with it, but the law in some places has changed recently. In NY as of October 1st you must now report it directly. These reports are anonymous. You are asked for your name but you can withhold it, or ask that it not be used.
I’m sure you can see why the law has been changed. The child goes home to be abused while your report is still working its way up the chain of command. Also, unfortunately, some administrators were taking it upon themselves to decide that the teacher’s ‘intuition’ was wrong, and never reported it.
for more specific info on your responsibility if you’re in NY. If you don’t work in NY, google “
for a list of mandated reporters and explanations of how this works, or google your own state
You sould not address this with the student or the parent. You do not need proof. The law states you need “reasonable cause” of ABUSE OR MALTREATMENT to report.
Addressing the student will only stress him/her out, and he/she will try to convince you everything is really fine in order to avoid retaliation at home. By high school they are very good at this. This is part of the problem with abuse. Addressing the parent could put you in very real danger if the abuse is real. If you are worried about retaliation then speak to your principal and the authorities when you’ve made your report so everyone is aware there may be trouble coming.
Yes, it would be embarrassing and uncomfortable if your suspicions turned out to be unfounded, but the alternative is much much worse, and everyone with a brain and imagination knows that. If you’re wrong, eventually they’ll understand and forgive. Could you forgive yourself if you waited and the worst occurred? Remember that you may be the only person in a position to notice and report this.
It is now ILLEGAL to stand by and do nothing…thank goodness!
In California, each teacher must report the issue to cps/police department. The issue is not to be brought to anyone else or investigated by that teacher. CPS will decide how to proceed.
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