A to Z Teacher Stuff ~ Teacher Resources, Lesson Plans, Themes, Tips, Printables, and more
advertise
Go Back   A to Z Teacher Stuff Forums > TeacherChat Forums > Elementary Education



Reply
 
Thread Tools
  #1  
Old 11-14-2012, 03:29 PM
FutureTeacher_1's Avatar
FutureTeacher_1 FutureTeacher_1 is offline
Novice
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 76
Michigan
1st Grade Teacher
Should I make the call?

Hi all,

A student told me today that he is "hit and sweared at" at home.

He does on occasion modify the truth, but never on this scale. He also usually looks unkept, messy, misses often, definitely neglected it appears.

My AP said that we shouldn't call unless we see some bruises.

I know I'm a mandatory reporter in my state but I'm worried about crossing this AP and losing my job..

Help me. I feel sick to my stomach.
Reply With Quote

 
  #2  
Old 11-14-2012, 03:32 PM
TamiJ's Avatar
TamiJ TamiJ is offline
Virtuoso
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 6,439
Mexico
1st grade teacher
As a mandated reporter you are obligated by law to report this.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 11-14-2012, 03:33 PM
catnfiddle's Avatar
catnfiddle catnfiddle is offline
Maven
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 5,529
Central Ohio
Online English Teacher
Bruises can be covered by clothing. Unless the student strips, your AP's theory is a faulty one. Do you have a school counselor who can talk with the student and corroborate what you've heard?
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 11-14-2012, 03:42 PM
lucybelle's Avatar
lucybelle lucybelle is offline
Connoisseur
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 1,562
USA
Science
You should at least report it to the school social worker.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 11-14-2012, 03:42 PM
FutureTeacher_1's Avatar
FutureTeacher_1 FutureTeacher_1 is offline
Novice
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 76
Michigan
1st Grade Teacher
Counselor will start seeing the boy next month for social support.

He said to call.

Social worker said to hold off also...sides with the AP.

I'm so conflicted. The parents recovering drug addicts..the AP says theyre getting their lives together calling will ruin it all.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 11-14-2012, 03:43 PM
lucybelle's Avatar
lucybelle lucybelle is offline
Connoisseur
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 1,562
USA
Science
Hitting their child will ruin it all.

You are not to blame for their behavior.

Call it in.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 11-14-2012, 04:11 PM
czacza's Avatar
czacza czacza is offline
Multitudinous
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Posts: 20,734
New Jersey
Grade 3
Quote:
Originally Posted by lucybelle View Post
You should at least report it to the school social worker.
That's not fulfilling the duties of a mandated reporter.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 11-14-2012, 04:37 PM
EdEd EdEd is offline
Aficionado
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 3,285
USA
I think it's important to keep in mind a few things. First, there is some level above which you "suspect" abuse to have occurred and below which you do not. That's not a line of severity, but a line of plausibility. If a child says "my mom yelled at me because I forgot to bring home my homework," that might fall below the likelihood of suspicion. Because we aren't familiar with the context in which it was said or the child who said it, I would not give credibility to our decisions on the Internet as to whether you should or shouldn't call.

Second, at no point should the potential benefit or harm of calling be a variable, despite the fact that calls can and often do cause more harm than benefit. It's simply legally not your call to make.

Third, if there is defensible gray area (ie you legitimately can't decide if what you've heard should he defined as suspicion), I believe it's appropriate to follow guidance of administration and folks like the social worker. However, if you are clear in your suspicion but are not supported by admin or social worker, you shouldn't use that as a reason to not call, as informing admin and social worker doesn't remove your mandate to call if you indeed do suspect abuse.

All of this, of course, leads to the definition of "abuse." For example, if a child said, "My mom gives me balloons" you would not suspect abuse because giving balloons isn't in the behavioral realm of abuse. However, if a child said, "Every night when I get home my mom hits me with a frying pan if I got in trouble at school," then that would fall within the definition of abuse.

Simply saying the word "hitting" to me would not automatically fall within the definition of abuse as it could refer to a discipline situation which, however undesirable, would not cause me to be suspicious of abuse unless the child described something that crossed the line definitionally from discipline to abuse.

Unfortunately, this can place you in a tricky situation, as it's definitely a bad idea to follow up with additional questions if you're told something, because under some state laws the number of times a child can be questioned is limited, and if you ask questions you might use up one of those times. However, it may be acceptable for your school social worker to have a further conversation with the child, gather more information, and make a decision.

In your particular situation, based on the information you've given, I would ask the social worker to follow up with the child and handle the situation. If the child simply stated "my mom hits me" but provided no context, I would personally not know if the child were referring to a discipline situation or abuse situation, and would ask the social worker to follow up with the child and handle the situation. I would feel comfortable not calling if the social worker followed up, gathered more information, and made a decision (whichever decision) based on more information that I had.. However, if the social worker refused to follow-up, I would likely make the call out of caution. However, I'd again be extremely clear that none of us on the internet have full access to the information you have, including the context of the specific conversation, tone of voice and body language involved, history of the child, etc. So, anyone telling you to absolutely call or not call is probably speaking prematurely.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 11-14-2012, 04:48 PM
EdEd EdEd is offline
Aficionado
 
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 3,285
USA
Oh, and the idea of "waiting until bruises" is suggesting that you wait until evidence is attained, which is clearly not right. Gathering evidence is the job of subsequent investigators, not the mandated reporter. As a matter of fact, if you have suspicion but wait for evidence, you are violating your duties and could be subject to legal action.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 11-14-2012, 05:22 PM
HeartDrama's Avatar
HeartDrama HeartDrama is offline
Groupie
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 1,364
SoCal
High School English
Quote:
Originally Posted by EdEd View Post

Simply saying the word "hitting" to me would not automatically fall within the definition of abuse as it could refer to a discipline situation which, however undesirable, would not cause me to be suspicious of abuse unless the child described something that crossed the line definitionally from discipline to abuse.
I agree with this.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
call, make

Thread Tools

Forum Jump

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off




Mr. Rebates

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 03:05 AM.


Copyright © 1997-2010 A to Z Teacher Stuff, L.L.C.  All Rights Reserved.
Use of this site signifies your agreement to the terms of use.
Questions, comments, and suggestions: Contact Us
Powered by vBulletin® Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.