School of Education: Legal Seminar Videos

Mandatory Child Abuse Reporting: School Employees


School Employees

Dr. Erma Jean Sims,
Sonoma State University

We're going to look now at when school employees are accused of child abuse. We have abuse in the home what happens if it occurs at school. Regardless of whom the child abuser may be, the majority responsibility of mandated reporters are identifying suspected child abuse and report it to the proper authorities. It's not your responsibility to do an investigation. We're going to let the investigation be handled by the child protective services agency. All you've got to do is report, after that it's their job to find out if this is really occurring or not. Even if they have the finding of no child abuse, don't let that dissuade you from making other reports, when you know, observe or have a reasonable suspicion to do so. If an employee abuses the child, two things may happen. That employee may be subject to reassignment. Let's get that person out of the building so we don't have the possibility of them abusing that particular child again or another child in the classroom. While the investigation is going on the employee who has abused the child is on a paid leave of absence. We don't have a finding of fact as yet, until the investigation is completed. So you may find that you don't see Mr. or Ms. Brown around, but you're hearing that they're getting paid for sitting at home, even though they're suspected of child abuse. They will be reassigned or paid on administrative paid leave until the investigation is completed. Upon filing formal charges or being convicted, the district may take disciplinary action, in accordance with the law, district policies and regulations or in accordance with the collective bargaining agreement. Many of you will be in a teacher's union. The superintendent or his or her designate shall seek legal counsel in connection with either the suspension of that employee or the dismissal or firing of that employee. That all occurs after the formal charges have been made and that person has been convicted.

CREDITS: Instruction and Content by Dr. Erma Jean Sims, Sonoma State University. Videography and Technical support by Mark Niemann, Sonoma State University