Child Abuse and Neglect

Originally appeared in the CAS Weekly Newsletter.
Written by attorney Thomas B. Mooney.

Dear Legal Mailbag:

As the principal of a large middle school, I pride myself in running a tight ship. I want my teachers on time where they are assigned. I want my custodians to keep the building spic and span. I want my parents to keep out of my hair, and above all else, I don’t want to be surprised. Ever.

Given my admittedly inflexible personality, I was disappointed that one of my teachers did in fact surprise me, big time. The other day I received a call out of the blue from DCF asking to schedule some meetings as part of an investigation. Apparently, one of my teachers decided all on her own that the way a paraprofessional was treating a special needs child was child abuse. Given that she teaches math, I really don’t see how she is qualified to make that determination, and I was miffed that she would not consult with me before opening up this Pandora’s box.

I sent her an email, directing her to schedule a meeting with me. I plan to convey my disappointment and to tell her that she should talk with me first before filing a DCF report, but I don’t plan to impose any formal discipline. Nonetheless, she wrote back and asked if she can bring a union representative. That’s the last thing that I want. Can I tell her no?

Thank you,
Stiff Spine


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The Independent School Task Force on Educator Sexual Misconduct has released its final report, Prevention and Response: Recommendations for Independent School Leaders. This report incorporates feedback submitted in response to the August 2017 draft report released for comment and feedback. The Task Force was formed in the Summer of 2016 as a collaboration between the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) and The Association of Boarding Schools (TABS) and was characterized as a “call to action” for schools to engage in a comprehensive and thoughtful review of policies and procedures to help ensure safe environments for students.

As the title implies, the report first walks through recommendations for steps independent schools should take to prevent incidents of educator sexual misconduct from occurring, followed by guidance and recommendations for response to allegations. In making these recommendations, the Task Force lauded schools which demonstrate honesty and openness on this issue and which continue to encourage transparency within the independent school community. A summary of the report’s recommendations are outlined below.


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