Policy Tool | District Policies

4050CHILD ABUSE

 

REPORTS OF SUSPECTED ABUSE OR NEGLECT OF CHILDREN OR SEXUAL ASSAULT OF STUDENTS BY SCHOOL EMPLOYEES

 

Conn. Gen. Stat. Section 17a-101 et seq. requires school employees who have reasonable cause to suspect or believe (1) that any child under eighteen has been abused or neglected, has had a nonaccidental physical injury, or injury which is at variance with the history given of such injury, or has been placed at imminent risk of serious harm, or (2) that any person who is being educated by the technical high school system or a local or regional board of education, other than as part of an adult education program, is a victim of sexual assault, and the perpetrator is a school employee, to report such suspicions to the appropriate authority. In furtherance of this statute and its purpose, it is the policy of the Meriden Board of Education (“Board”) to require ALL EMPLOYEES of the Board of Education to report suspected abuse and/or neglect, nonaccidental physical injury, imminent risk of serious harm, or sexual assault of a student by a school employee, in accordance with the procedures set forth below. 

 

  1. Scope of Policy

 

           This policy applies not only to school employees who are required by law to report suspected child abuse and/or neglect, nonaccidental physical injury, imminent risk of serious harm, or sexual assault of a student by a school employee, but to ALL EMPLOYEES of the Board of Education.

 

  1. Definitions

 

For the purposes of this policy:

 

"Abused" means that a child (a) has had physical injury or injuries inflicted upon him or her other than by accidental means, or (b) has injuries which are at variance with the history given of them, or (c) is in a condition which is the result of maltreatment, such as, but not limited to, malnutrition, sexual molestation or exploitation, deprivation of necessities, emotional maltreatment or cruel punishment.

 

"Neglected" means that a child (a) has been abandoned, or (b) is being denied proper care and attention, physically, educationally, emotionally or morally, or (c) is being permitted to live under conditions, circumstances or associations injurious to his well-being, or (d) has been abused.

 

"School employee" means (a) a teacher, substitute teacher, school administrator, school superintendent, guidance counselor, psychologist, social worker, nurse, physician, school paraprofessional or coach employed by the Board or who is working in a Board elementary, middle or high school; or (b) any other person who, in the performance of his or her duties, has regular contact with students and who provides services to or on behalf of students enrolled in the Meriden Public Schools (“District”), pursuant to a contract with the Board.

 

"Sexual assault" means, for the purposes of the mandatory reporting laws and this policy, a violation of Sections 53a-70, 53a-70a, 53a-71, 53a-72a, 53a-72b or 53a-73a of the Connecticut General Statutes.  Please see Appendix A of this policy for the relevant statutory definitions of sexual assault laws and related terms covered by the mandatory reporting laws and this policy.

 

"Statutory mandated reporter" means an individual required by Conn. Gen. Stat. Section 17a-101 et seq. to report suspected abuse and/or neglect of children or the sexual assault of a student by a school employee.  The term "statutory mandated reporter" includes all school employees, as defined above, any person who is a licensed behavior analyst, and any person who holds or is issued a coaching permit by the State Board of Education, is a coach of intramural or interscholastic athletics, and is eighteen years of age or older.

 

  1. What Must Be Reported

 

  1. a) A report must be made when any employee of the Board of Education in the ordinary course of such person’s employment or profession has reasonable cause to suspect or believe that any child under the age of eighteen years:

          

  1. i) has been abused or neglected;

 

  1. ii) has had nonaccidental physical injury, or injury which is at variance with the history given for such injury, inflicted upon him/her;

 

iii)       is placed at imminent risk of serious harm; or

 

  1. b) A report must be made when any employee of the Board of Education in the ordinary course of such person’s employment or profession has reasonable cause to suspect or believe that any person, regardless of age, who is being educated by the technical high school system or a local or regional board of education, other than as part of an adult education program, is a victim of the following sexual assault crimes, and the perpetrator is a school employee:

 

  1. i) sexual assault in first degree;

 

  1. ii) aggravated sexual assault in the first degree;

 

iii)       sexual assault in the second degree;

 

  1. iv) sexual assault in the third degree;

 

  1. v) sexual assault in the third degree with a firearm; or

 

  1. vi) sexual assault in the fourth degree.

 

Please see Appendix A of this policy for the relevant statutory definitions of sexual assault laws and related terms covered by the mandatory reporting laws and this policy.

 

  1. c) The suspicion or belief of a Board employee may be based on factors including, but not limited to, observations, allegations, facts or statements by a child or victim, as described above, or a third party.  Such suspicion or belief does not require certainty or probable cause.

 

  1. Reporting Procedures for Statutory Mandated Reporters

 

           The following procedures apply only to statutory mandated reporters, as defined above.

 

        When an employee of the Board of Education who is a statutory mandated reporter and who, in the ordinary course of the person's employment, has reasonable cause to suspect or believe that a child has been abused or neglected or placed at imminent risk of serious harm, or is a victim of sexual assault by a school employee, as described in Paragraph 3, above, the following steps shall be taken.

 

(1)       The employee shall make an oral or electronic report as soon as practicable, but not later than twelve (12) hours after having reasonable cause to suspect or believe that a child has been abused or neglected or placed at imminent risk of serious harm, or is a victim of sexual assault by a school employee.

 

  • An oral report shall be made by telephone or in person to the Commissioner of Children and Families or the local law enforcement agency. The Department of Children and Families has established a 24 hour Child Abuse and Neglect Careline at 1-800-842-2288 for the purpose of making such oral reports. 

 

  • An electronic report shall be made in the manner prescribed by the Commissioner of Children and Families. An employee making an electronic report shall respond to further inquiries from the Commissioner of Children and Families or designee made within twenty-four (24) hours. Such employee shall inform the Superintendent or his/her designee as soon as possible as to the nature of the further communication with the Commissioner or designee.

 

(2)       The employee shall also make an oral report as soon as practicable to the Building Principal or his/her designee, and/or the Superintendent or his/her designee.  If the Building Principal is the alleged perpetrator of the abuse/neglect or sexual assault of a student, then the employee shall notify the Superintendent or his/her designee directly.

 

  • In cases involving suspected or believed abuse, neglect, or sexual assault of a student by a school employee, the Superintendent or his/her designee shall immediately notify the child's parent or guardian that such a report has been made.

 

(4)       Not later than forty-eight (48) hours after making an oral report, the employee shall submit a written or electronic report to the Commissioner of Children and Families or the Commissioner’s designee containing all of the required information. The written or electronic report should be submitted in the manner prescribed by the Commission of Children and Families.  When such report is submitted electronically, the employee shall respond to further inquiries from the Commissioner of Children and Families or designee made within twenty-four (24) hours. Such employee shall inform the Superintendent or his/her designee as soon as possible as to the nature of the further communication with the Commissioner or designee. 

 

(5)       The employee shall immediately submit a copy of the written or electronic report to the Building Principal or his/her designee and to the Superintendent or the Superintendent's designee.

 

(6)       If the report concerns suspected abuse, neglect, or sexual assault of a student by a school employee holding a certificate, authorization or permit issued by the State Department of Education, the Commissioner of Children and Families (or his/her designee) shall submit a copy of the written or electronic report to the Commissioner of Education (or his/her designee).

 

  1. Reporting Procedures for Employees Other Than Statutory Mandated Reporters

 

The following procedures apply only to employees who are not statutory mandated reporters, as defined above.

 

  1. a) When an employee who is not a statutory mandated reporter and who, in the ordinary course of the person’s employment or profession, has reasonable cause to suspect or believe that a child has been abused or neglected or placed at imminent risk of serious harm, or is a victim of sexual assault by a school employee, as described in Paragraph 3, above, the following steps shall be taken.

 

(1)       The employee shall make an oral report as soon as practicable, but not later than twelve (12) hours after the employee has reasonable cause to suspect or believe that a child has been abused or neglected, placed at imminent risk of serious harm or is a victim of sexual assault by a school employee.  Such oral report shall be made by telephone or in person to the Superintendent of Schools or his/her designee, to be followed by an immediate written report to the Superintendent or his/her designee.

 

(2)       If the Superintendent or his/her designee determines that there is reasonable cause to suspect or believe that a child has been abused or neglected or placed at imminent risk of serious harm or is a victim of sexual assault by school employee, he/she shall cause reports to be made in accordance with the procedures set forth for statutory mandated reporters.

 

  1. b) Nothing in this policy shall be construed to preclude an employee reporting suspected child abuse, neglect or sexual assault by a school employee from reporting the same directly to the Commissioner of Children and Families.

 

  1. Contents of Reports

 

           Any report made pursuant to this policy shall contain the following information, if known:

 

  1. a) The names and addresses of the child* and his/her parents or other person responsible for his/her care;

 

  1. b) the age of the child;

 

  1. c) the gender of the child;

 

  1. d) the nature and extent of the child's injury or injuries, maltreatment or neglect;

 

  1. e) the approximate date and time the injury or injuries, maltreatment or neglect occurred;

 

  1. f) information concerning any previous injury or injuries to, or maltreatment or neglect of the child or his/her siblings;

 

  1. g) the circumstances in which the injury or injuries, maltreatment or neglect came to be known to the reporter;

 

  1. h) the name of the person or persons suspected to be responsible for causing such injury or injuries, maltreatment or neglect;

 

  1. i) the reasons such person or persons are suspected of causing such injury or injuries, maltreatment or neglect;

 

  1. j) any information concerning any prior cases in which such person or persons have been suspected of causing an injury, maltreatment or neglect of a child; and

 

  1. k) whatever action, if any, was taken to treat, provide shelter or otherwise assist the child.

 

*For purposes of this Paragraph, the term “child” includes any victim of sexual assault by a school employee, as described in Paragraph 3, above.

 

  1. Investigation of the Report

 

  1. a) The Superintendent or his/her designee shall thoroughly investigate reports of suspected abuse, neglect or sexual assault if/when such report involves an employee of the Board of Education or other individual under the control of the Board, provided such investigation does not impede an investigation by the Department of Children and Families (“DCF”). In all other cases, DCF shall be responsible for conducting the investigation with the cooperation and collaboration of the Board, as appropriate.

 

  1. b) Recognizing that DCF is the lead agency for the investigation of child abuse and neglect reports and reports of a student’s sexual assault by school employees, the Superintendent's investigation shall permit and give priority to any investigation conducted by the Commissioner of Children and Families or the appropriate local law enforcement agency. The Superintendent shall conduct the District’s investigation and take any disciplinary action, consistent with state law, upon notice from the Commissioner of Children and Families or the appropriate local law enforcement agency that the District’s investigation will not interfere with the investigation of the Commissioner of Children and Families or the local law enforcement agency.

 

  1. c) The Superintendent shall coordinate investigatory activities in order to minimize the number of interviews of any child or student victim of sexual assault and share information with other persons authorized to conduct an investigation of child abuse or neglect, as appropriate.

 

  1. d) Any person reporting child abuse or neglect or the sexual assault of a student by a school employee, or having any information relevant to alleged abuse or neglect or of the sexual assault of a student by a school employee, shall provide the Superintendent with all information related to the investigation that is in the possession or control of such person, except as expressly prohibited by state or federal law.

 

  1. e) When the school district is conducting an investigation involving suspected abuse or neglect or sexual assault of a student by an employee of the Board or other individual under the control of the Board, the Superintendent’s investigation shall include an opportunity for the individual suspected of abuse, neglect or sexual assault to be heard with respect to the allegations contained within the report. During the course of such investigation, the Superintendent may suspend a Board employee with pay or may place the employee on administrative leave with pay, pending the outcome of the investigation.  If the individual is one who provides services to or on behalf of students enrolled in the District, pursuant to a contract with the Board of Education, the Superintendent may suspend the provision of such services, and direct the individual to refrain from any contact with students enrolled in the District, pending the outcome of the investigation.

 

  1. Evidence of Abuse, Neglect or Sexual Assault by a School Employee

 

  1. a) If, upon completion of the investigation by the Commissioner of Children and Families (“Commissioner”), the Superintendent has received a report from the Commissioner that he or she has reasonable cause to believe that (1) a child has been abused or neglected by a school employee, as defined above, and the Commissioner has recommended that such employee be placed on the Department of Children and Families child abuse and neglect registry, or (2) a student is a victim of sexual assault by a school employee, the Superintendent shall request (and the law provides) that DCF notify the Superintendent not later than five (5) working days after such finding, and provide the Superintendent with records, whether or not created by DCF, concerning such investigation. The Superintendent shall suspend such school employee. Such suspension shall be with pay and shall not result in the diminution or termination of benefits to such employee. 

 

  1. b) Not later than seventy-two (72) hours after such suspension, the Superintendent shall notify the Board of Education and the Commissioner of Education, or the Commissioner of Education's representative, of the reasons for and the conditions of the suspension. The Superintendent shall disclose such records to the Commissioner of Education and the Board of Education or its attorney for purposes of review of employment status or the status of such employee's certificate, permit or authorization, if any.

 

  1. c) The suspension of a school employee employed in a position requiring a certificate shall remain in effect until the Superintendent and/or Board of Education acts pursuant to the provisions of Conn. Gen. Stat. §10-151. If the contract of employment of such certified school employee is terminated, or such certified school employee resigns such employment, the Superintendent shall notify the Commissioner of Education, or the Commissioner of Education's representative, within seventy-two (72) hours after such termination or resignation.

 

  1. d)        The suspension of a school employee employed in a position requiring an authorization or permit shall remain in effect until the Superintendent and/or Board of Education acts pursuant to any applicable termination provisions. If the contract of employment of a school employee holding an authorization or permit from the State Department of Education is terminated, or such school employee resigns such employment, the Superintendent shall notify the Commissioner of Education, or the Commissioner of Education's representative, within seventy-two hours after such termination or resignation.

 

  1. e) Regardless of the outcome of any investigation by the Commissioner of Children and Families and/or the police, the Superintendent and/or the Board, as appropriate, may take disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment, in accordance with the provisions of any applicable statute, if the Superintendent’s investigation produces evidence that a child has been abused or neglected by a school employee or that a student has been a victim of sexual assault by a school employee.

 

  1. f) The District shall not employ a person whose employment contract is terminated or who resigned from employment following a suspension pursuant to Paragraph 8(a) of this policy and Conn. Gen. Stat. § 17a-101i, if such person is convicted of a crime involving an act of child abuse or neglect or an act of sexual assault of a student, as described in Paragraph 3 of this policy.

 

  1. Evidence of Abuse, Neglect or Sexual Assault by An Independent Contractor of the Board of Education

 

If the investigation by the Superintendent and/or the Commissioner of Children and Families produces evidence that a child has been abused or neglected, or a student has been sexually assaulted, by any individual who provides services to or on behalf of students enrolled in the District, pursuant to a contract with the Board, the Superintendent shall permanently suspend the provision of such services, and direct the individual to refrain from any contact with students enrolled in the District.

 

  1. Delegation of Authority by Superintendent

 

           The Superintendent may appoint a designee for the purposes of receiving and making reports, notifying and receiving notification, or investigating reports pursuant to this policy.

 

  1. Confidential Rapid Response Team

 

           The Superintendent shall establish a confidential rapid response team to coordinate with DCF to (1) ensure prompt reporting of suspected abuse or neglect or sexual assault of a student by a school employee, as described in Paragraph 3, above, and (2) provide immediate access to information and individuals relevant to the department’s investigation.  The confidential rapid response team shall consist of a teacher and the Superintendent, a local police officer and any other person the Board of Education, acting through its Superintendent, deems appropriate.

 

  1. Disciplinary Action for Failure to Follow Policy

 

           Except as provided in Section 14 below, any employee who fails to comply with the requirements of this policy shall be subject to discipline, up to and including termination of employment.

 

  1. The District shall not hire any person whose employment contract was previously terminated by a board of education or who resigned from such employment, if such person has been convicted of a violation of Section 17a-101a of the Connecticut General Statutes, as amended, relating to mandatory reporting, when an allegation of abuse or neglect or sexual assault has been substantiated.

  2. Non-Discrimination Policy/Prohibition Against Retaliation

 

           The Board of Education expressly prohibits retaliation against individuals reporting child abuse or neglect or the sexual assault of a student by a school employee and shall not discharge or in any manner discriminate or retaliate against any employee who, in good faith makes a report pursuant to this policy, or testifies or is about to testify in any proceeding involving abuse or neglect or sexual assault by a school employee. The Board of Education also prohibits any employee from hindering or preventing or attempting to hinder or prevent any employee from making a report pursuant to this policy or state law concerning suspected child abuse or neglect or the sexual assault of a student by a school employee or testifying in any proceeding involving child abuse or neglect or the sexual assault of a student by a school employee.

 

  1. Distribution of Policy and Posting of Careline Information

 

This policy shall be distributed annually to all school employees employed by the Board. The Board shall document that all such school employees have received this written policy and completed the training and refresher training programs required by in Section 16, below.  The Board shall post the Internet web site address and telephone number for the Department of Children and Families’ Child Abuse and Neglect Careline in a conspicuous location frequented by students in each school under the jurisdiction of the Board.

 

  1. Training

 

  1. a) All new school employees, as defined above, shall be required to complete an educational training program for the accurate and prompt identification and reporting of child abuse and neglect. Such training program shall be developed and approved by the Commissioner of Children and Families.

 

  1. b) All school employees, as defined above, shall take a refresher training course developed and approved by the Commissioner of Children and Families at least once every three years.
  2. c) The principal for each school shall annually certify to the Superintendent that each school employee, as defined above, working at such school, is in compliance with the training provisions in this policy and as required by state law. The Superintendent shall certify such compliance to the State Board of Education.

 

  1. Records

 

  1. a) The Board shall maintain in a central location all records of allegations, investigations, and reports that a child has been abused or neglected by a school employee employed by the Board or that a student has been a victim of sexual assault by a school employee employed by the Board, as defined above, and conducted in accordance with this policy. Such records shall include any reports made to the Department of Children and Families. The State Department of Education shall have access to such records upon request.

 

  1. b) Notwithstanding the provisions of Conn. Gen. Stat. §10-151c, the Board shall provide the Commissioner of Children and Families, upon request and for the purposes of an investigation by the Commissioner of Children and Families of suspected child abuse or neglect by a teacher employed by the Board, any records maintained or kept on file by the Board. Such records shall include, but not be limited to, supervisory records, reports of competence, personal character and efficiency maintained in such teacher's personnel file with reference to evaluation of performance as a professional employee of the Board, and records of the personal misconduct of such teacher. For purposes of this section, "teacher" includes each certified professional employee below the rank of superintendent employed by the Board in a position requiring a certificate issued by the State Board of Education.

 

  1. Child Sexual Abuse and/or Sexual Assault Response Policy and Reporting Procedure

 

The Board has adopted a uniform child sexual abuse and/or sexual assault response policy and reporting procedure in connection with the implementation of its sexual assault and abuse prevention and awareness program, as outlined in Board Policy # 4050, Child Sexual Abuse and/or Sexual Assault Response Policy and Reporting Procedure.   Upon receipt of any report of child sexual abuse and/or sexual assault from any source, a school employee shall report such suspicion to the Safe School Climate Coordinator in addition to complying with his/her obligations under this Policy and the law regarding mandatory reporting of abuse, neglect and sexual assault.

 Legal References:

 

Connecticut General Statutes:

 

                   Section 10-151

 

                   Section 17a-101 et seq.

 

Section 17a-101q, Statewide Sexual Abuse and Assault Awareness and Prevention Program

 

                   Section 17a-103

                  

                   Section 46b-120

 

                   Section 53a-65

 

                   Public Act 18-17, “An Act Requiring Behavior Analysts to be Mandated Reporters of Suspect Child Abuse and Neglect”

                  

                   Public Act 18-67, “An Act Concerning Minor Revisions to the Statutes of the Department of Children and Families and Establishing a Pilot Program to Permit Electronic Reporting by Mandated Reporters”

 

                   Public Act 18-57, “An Act Concerning Immunity from Civil or Criminal Liability for Persons Providing Medical Assistance or Intervention in a Child Abuse or Neglect Case”

 

ADOPTED: April 28, 1981

Amended:    February 4, 1997

Amended:    October 1, 2002

Amended:    August 19, 2014

Amended:    April 28, 2015

Amended:    November 17, 2015

Amended:    December 18, 2018

 

Previous Policy Number: 5141.4

 

 

Approved 12/18/2018
Previous Policy Number: 5141.4