Teachers Reporting Abuse
Teachers are in a unique position; they often spend more time children than the parents do. This provides children an opportunity to develop a trusting relationship with the child that provides a unique option when they are concerned about an issue that they are facing. When it comes to disclosing child abuse teachers are often the individual they seek out to tell. Subsequently, this significant trust children harbor reflect how critical it is for teachers to understand their obligation when a child comes forward.
Given the critical nature of child abuse and the obligation to report abuse to the authorities, it is important for the teacher to get support from a school counselor and/or principal when moving forward. The teacher feels a sense of obligation to contact the parent to check with them to determine what happened. This will only make it more likely for the child to continue to be abused, and like get in significant trouble for sharing personal family matter with outsiders.
It is a difficult and conflictual position to be in, but essential for teachers to protect the child from further abuse. Teachers are legally mandated to report child abuse. Since in most cases,physical, emotional, neglect and sexual abuse are perpetrated by a parental figure or someone who lives in the same home. In cases of sexual abuse, often the mother may be unaware their child is being molested, but contacting her directly, may result in her being put in a precarious position of potentially protecting her partner.
That is why it is so critical to contact Child Protective Services or the local police department. Child abuse is such a potentially life changing issues and can result in very serious implications if it is not investigated properly. It is your legal obligation, and you are protected from legal action from the accused. Yes, this is a very awkward situation and may be one of the most difficult things you are called on to do, but it is critical to the child's safety. There are resources available to you in this section that may helpful to deal with this obligation.
You can also contact the Jeannette Prandi Children's Center or Children and Family Services 415-453-7153.