Carthage R-9

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P 2710 Reporting Student Abuse

The Board of Education believes that school staff members, school volunteers and school contractors are in unique positions to assist children, families, and the community in dealing with the issue of child abuse and neglect. In addition, school employees are required by law to report instances of suspected child abuse when the employee has reasonable cause to suspect that a child has been or is likely to be abused or neglected. Employees failing to follow the directives of this policy or state or federal law will be subject to discipline including, but not limited to, termination, and may be subject to criminal prosecution.

Child abuse is defined as any physical injury, sexual abuse or emotional abuse inflicted on a child other than by accidental means. Neglect is defined as the failure to provide the proper or necessary support, education, nutrition or medical, surgical or other care necessary for the child's well being. The status as an unaccompanied youth is not, in and of itself, a sufficient basis for reporting child abuse or neglect unless the child is under sixteen (16) years of age or is an incapacitated person.  However, if a mandated reporter knows or has reason to believe that an unaccompanied child has been or may be a victim of child abuse or neglect, a report must be made.  

Any school official, employee, volunteer or school contractor acting in his or her official capacity who knows or has reasonable cause to suspect that a child has been subjected to abuse or neglect, or who observes the child being subjected to conditions or circumstances that would reasonably result in abuse or neglect, will immediately make a report to the school principal or designee, including any report of excessive absences that may indicate educational neglect. The school principal or designee will then become responsible for making a report via the Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline to the Children’s Division, as required by law. This policy does not preclude any employee from directly reporting abuse or neglect to the Children’s Division; however, the school official, employee, volunteer or school contractor must notify the school principal or designee immediately after making a report.

If a student reports alleged sexual misconduct on the part of a teacher, or school employee, to a school employee, such employee and the Superintendent shall forward the information within twenty-four hours of receiving the information to the Children’s Division. The District will investigate the allegation for the purpose of making decisions about the accused person’s employment.

However, if the report of alleged sexual abuse is received from someone other than a student, a report will be made to the Children’s Division if a District administrator has reason to believe that a child has been or is likely to be abused or neglected.

If the District receives a report of child abuse against a school employee involving a spanking or the use of reasonable force to protect persons or property, the Superintendent or the School Board President must send a notice to county law enforcement officials. Such notice will be given in addition to notice to Children’s Division. The investigation into such child abuse allegation will be conducted by a law enforcement official in the county.

Any school district employee, volunteer or school contractor acting in good faith, who reports alleged sexual misconduct on the part of a school employee will not be disciplined or discriminated against because of such reporting.

The District will annually provide employee and volunteer training, which will include but not be limited to current information concerning identification of the signs of sexual abuse in children as well as the identification of the danger signals of potentially abusive relationships between children and adults. This training will emphasize the importance of mandatory child abuse reporting, including the obligation to report suspected abuse by other mandated reporters. Employees and volunteers will receive training on the need for and methods to create an atmosphere of trust so that students believe school employees are available to discuss matters concerning abusive behavior. 

The District will post in each student restroom and in a clearly visible location in each school office, the toll-free child abuse and neglect hotline number established by the Children’s Division. These signs will be published in both English and Spanish. Such child abuse and neglect hotline numbers shall be depicted in large print on posters 11 inches by 17 inches and will be placed at eye level for easy viewing. The hotline number will be shown in bold print. The signs shall also contain instructions to call 911 for emergencies and contain directions for accessing the Children’s Division’s website for more information on reporting abuse and neglect.

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Board Approved Date: November 21, 2022
Last Updated: November 2022