Familial Child Abuse
The School District takes seriously the obligations of its officers and employees to report cases of child abuse or maltreatment. To this end, regulations shall be developed, maintained and disseminated by administration regarding the:
a) Mandatory reporting of suspected child abuse or maltreatment;
b) Reporting procedures and obligations of persons required to report;
c) Provisions for taking a child into protective custody;
d) Mandatory reporting of deaths;
e) Immunity from liability and penalties for failure to report;
f) Obligations for provision of services and procedures necessary to safeguard the life of a child; and
g) Provision of information in recognizing signs of unlawful methamphetamine laboratories for all current and new school officials (i.e., “mandated reporters”) who, as part of their usual responsibilities, visit children’s homes.
Additionally, an ongoing training program for all current and new school officials shall be established and implemented to enable such staff to carry out their reporting responsibilities.
Persons Required to Report
Persons required to report cases of child abuse or maltreatment to the State Central Register (SCR) pursuant to Social Services Law Section 413(1) include, but are not limited to, school teachers, school guidance counselors, school psychologists, school social workers, school nurses, school administrators or other school personnel required to hold a teaching or administrative license or certificate, and full- or part-time compensated school employees required to hold a temporary coaching license or professional coaching certificate.
All mandated reporters shall make the report themselves and then immediately notify the Building Principal or his/her designee. The Building Principal or his/her designee shall be responsible for all subsequent administration necessitated by the report.
Any report shall include the name, title and contact information for every staff member who is believed to have direct knowledge of the allegations in the report.
Prohibition of Retaliatory Personnel Action
Social Services Law Section 413(1) also prohibits a school from taking any retaliatory personnel action against an employee because such employee believes that he/she has reasonable cause to suspect that a child is an abused or maltreated child and that employee makes a report to SCR pursuant to Social Services Law. Further, no school or school official shall impose any conditions, including prior approval or prior notification, upon any staff member specifically designated a mandated reporter.
Pursuant to Labor Law Section 740(1)(e), “retaliatory personnel action” means the discharge, suspension or demotion of an employee, or other adverse employment action taken against an employee in the terms and conditions of employment.
The “Report of Suspected Child Abuse or Maltreatment” Form LDSS-2221A may be accessed at the website of the New York State Office of Children and Family Services.
Child Abuse in an Educational Setting
The School District is committed to the protection of students in educational settings from abuse and maltreatment by employees or volunteers as enumerated in law.
“Child abuse” shall mean any of the following acts committed in an educational setting by an employee or volunteer against a child:
a) Intentionally or recklessly inflicting physical injury, serious physical injury or death; or
b) Intentionally or recklessly engaging in conduct which creates a substantial risk of such physical injury, serious physical injury or death; or
c) Any child sexual abuse, defined as conduct prohibited by Penal Law Articles 130 or 263; or
d) The commission or attempted commission against a child of the crime of disseminating indecent materials to minors pursuant to Penal Law Article 235.
“Educational setting” shall mean the building(s) and grounds of the School District; the vehicles provided by the School District for the transportation of students to and from school buildings, field trips, co-curricular and extracurricular activities both on and off School District grounds; all co-curricular and extracurricular activity sites; and any other location where direct contact between an employee or volunteer and a child has allegedly occurred.
In any case where an oral or written allegation is made to a teacher, school’s registered professional nurse, school guidance counselor, school psychologist, school social worker, school administrator, School Board member, or other school personnel required to hold a teaching or administrative license or certificate, that a child (defined in the law as a person under the age of twenty-one (21) years enrolled in a school district in this state) has been subjected to child abuse by an employee or volunteer in an educational setting, that person shall upon receipt of such allegation:
a) Promptly complete a written report of such allegation including the full name of the child alleged to be abused; the name of the child’s parent; the identity of the person making the allegation and their relationship to the alleged child victim; the name of the employee or volunteer against whom the allegation was made; and a listing of the specific allegations of child abuse in an educational setting. Such written report shall be completed on a form as prescribed by the Commissioner of Education.
b) Except where the school administrator is the person receiving such an oral or written allegation, the employee completing the written report must promptly personally deliver a copy of that written report to the school administrator of the school in which the child abuse allegedly occurred (subject to the following paragraph).
In any case where it is alleged the child was abused by an employee or volunteer of a school other than a school within the school district of the child’s attendance, the report of such allegations shall be promptly forwarded to the Superintendent of Schools of the school district of the child’s attendance and the school district where the abuse allegedly occurred.
Any employee or volunteer who reasonably and in good faith makes a report of allegations of child abuse in an educational setting in accordance with the reporting requirements of the law shall have immunity from civil liability which might otherwise result by reason of such actions.
Upon receipt of a written report alleging child abuse in an educational setting, the school administrator or Superintendent must then determine whether there is “reasonable suspicion” to believe that such an act of child abuse has occurred. Where there has been a determination as to the existence of such reasonable suspicion, the school administrator or Superintendent must follow the notification/reporting procedures mandated in law and further enumerated in administrative regulations including parental notification. When the school administrator receives a written report, he/she shall promptly provide a copy of such report to the Superintendent.
Where the school administrator or Superintendent has forwarded a written report of child abuse in an educational setting to law enforcement authorities, the Superintendent shall also refer such report to the Commissioner of Education where the employee or volunteer alleged to have committed such an act of child abuse holds a certification or license issued by the State Education Department.
Any school administrator or Superintendent who reasonably and in good faith makes a report of allegations of child abuse in an educational setting, or reasonably and in good faith transmits such a report to a person or agency as required by law, shall have immunity from civil liability which might otherwise result by reason of such actions.
Reports and other written material submitted pursuant to law with regard to allegations of child abuse in an educational setting, and photographs taken concerning such reports that are in the possession of any person legally authorized to receive such information, shall be confidential and shall not be redisclosed except to law enforcement authorities involved in an investigation of child abuse in an educational setting or as expressly authorized by law or pursuant to a court-ordered subpoena. School administrators and the Superintendent shall exercise reasonable care in preventing such unauthorized disclosure.
Additionally, teachers and all other school officials shall be provided an annual written explanation concerning the reporting of child abuse in an educational setting, including the immunity provisions as enumerated in law. Further, the Commissioner of Education shall furnish the District with required information, including rules and regulations for training necessary to implement District/staff responsibilities under the law.
Prohibition of “Silent” (Unreported) Resignations
The Superintendent and other school administrators are prohibited from withholding from law enforcement authorities, the Superintendent or the Commissioner of Education, where appropriate, information concerning allegations of child abuse in an educational setting against an employee or volunteer in exchange for that individual’s resignation or voluntary suspension from his/her position.
Superintendents (or a designated administrator) who reasonably and in good faith report to law enforcement officials information regarding allegations of child abuse or a resignation as required pursuant to the law shall have immunity from any liability, civil or criminal, which might otherwise result by reason of such actions.
Education Law Article 23-B and Sections 902(b), 3028-b and 3209-a
Family Court Act Section 1012
Labor Law Section 740(1)(e)
Penal Law Articles 130, 235 and 263
Social Services Law Sections 411-428
8 NYCRR Part 83
Adopted October 13, 2015