New teacher's question about reporting neglect

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Sterling1201, Jun 5, 2016.

  1. Sterling1201

    Sterling1201 Rookie

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2016
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 5, 2016

    I am in my 1st year of teaching and I had to make a DSS report on possible neglect of a 3 year old. I'm assuming my name won't be shared with the parents but they probably suspect me and will be very angry with me. (I understand their anger. I would be too.) My question is, How do I respond to them when they come to school tomorrow angry and act out in my classroom? I hate confrontations but I can't avoid this. Any suggestions would be helpful.
     
  2.  
  3. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2007
    Messages:
    3,506
    Likes Received:
    12

    Jun 5, 2016

    First of all, if you can, avoid being the only other adult in the room with them. Better still... if you can avoid speaking to them at all, make that your goal! But... if it can't be avoided...try to turn off your own anger/frustration at the situation so that your adrenaline isn't surging. It will keep you from getting defensive. When they come in and say, "did you call CPS on us" respond with a question. Say, "wait... what happened?" Let them start talking about the incident. Ask them more questions, and try to show genuine concern about the situation, "what happened then... what did they say...", etc. The more they talk about it, the more likely they are to calm down, especially if they sense your are concerned (which is real, because you are deeply concerned about their child).
     
    Reagan and Sterling1201 like this.
  4. Sterling1201

    Sterling1201 Rookie

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2016
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 5, 2016

    Thank you so much for responding. I've email a few veteran teachers and no one has offered any suggestions. Your advice is excellent. Thank you!!!
     
  5. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2007
    Messages:
    3,506
    Likes Received:
    12

    Jun 5, 2016

    You're welcome. I've had to deal with this a few times in my career. Just keep them talking... remember to speak softly yourself, and try to soften your facial features. Get them to sit down with you, also. Try to sit beside them instead of across from them. When you ask them questions, make sure you validate their fears, too, "What did they say is going to happen next? Do you have a plan for moving forward with the investigation?" End it by saying that you are sorry this is happening (because you ARE sorry this is happening to that child!) and that you'll do all you can at school to make sure their daughter has a good day. Remember, your goal is really just to diffuse the situation and keep them from exploding in front of you and your students.
     
  6. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2014
    Messages:
    9,651
    Likes Received:
    2,407

    Jun 5, 2016

    In my school, admin is there to support us if we need to make the call, as well as to be in the room if the parents come to confront us. I don't know where you are, but admin should be notified and have your back. I don't disagree with the advice on how to get them talking, but I would agree with it a little more if you had actual support in the room during this first contact after the report.
     
    MrsC likes this.
  7. Sterling1201

    Sterling1201 Rookie

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2016
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 5, 2016

     
  8. Sterling1201

    Sterling1201 Rookie

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2016
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 5, 2016

    It just got worse. I went into my school today (Sunday) to get my classroom ready for the week and ran into the director of my school. I found out that the social worker violated confidentiality rules (and the law) and told them it was me. My boss told me that the family was livid. I asked my boss if she would be in my room at the time the child gets dropped off (mom drops her off) just to be another witness if the parent causes a scene. She said she'd "try". To make matters worse, my boss said I should have reported the incidents that warranted the report sooner. I told her immediately after each incident and asked ifwe should make the referral. Each time. I feel really thrown under the bus by my boss and angry at the social worker for not keeping my identity more confidential.
     
  9. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2014
    Messages:
    9,651
    Likes Received:
    2,407

    Jun 5, 2016

    Welcome to the real world. Whenever you ask admin that question, type in out, with the date and time, and hand it to them as you wait for an answer. Make two copies. If you are told do or do not call, or that admin will think about, pull out your pen, right then, and write that response on your copy. Trust me, it will get their attention that you are noting their response, which may get you your answer.

    Now for some hard facts. You are a mandated reporter. You don't need anyone's permission to call if the conditions for neglect/abuse are present. CPS will determine if there are grounds to go forward, not you. Your job is to inform admin of the situation and the fact that you will be calling CPS. It is not your fault for any fallout with the family. As your admin has demonstrated, better to err on the side of caution and report sooner rather than later. Write down everything that you can remember before you call and keep a copy for your records. I never assume that confidentiality will be maintained, especially in the case of young children. You should have someone run interference if the parents are worked up. This is not a discussion to have in front of your class. Say that to admin.
     
    Caesar753, bandnerdtx and MrsC like this.
  10. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2007
    Messages:
    3,506
    Likes Received:
    12

    Jun 6, 2016

    How did it go today? Did the parents come in?
     
  11. Sterling1201

    Sterling1201 Rookie

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2016
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 7, 2016

    The parents did not come in yesterday but they want a meeting with me and the principal today. I was so worried that they would cause a scene in front of the children but that did not happen. I understand that I did what I had to do, but this whole fiasco is so stressful that I'm having trouble doing my job. I'm really not looking forward to this meeting because the parents are going to use me as a verbal punching bag and my principal has not supported me through this mess. I feel thrown under the bus by DSS and my principal.

    Thank you for asking. That was very kind of you.
     
  12. GPC0321

    GPC0321 Companion

    Joined:
    May 24, 2015
    Messages:
    244
    Likes Received:
    157

    Jun 7, 2016

    Keep your cool and stay professional. Remember that what you did was not motivated by personal reasons. You were doing your job. Often times in doing our jobs as teachers, we upset students, parents, and others. That just goes with the territory. Think about how much abuse is heaped onto law enforcement for simply doing their job of enforcing the law. Your job is to teach and protect the welfare of your students. What you did was not only morally and ethically right, it was your job. Anyone who has a problem with that IS the problem, not you.
    If the parents are smart, they will not become hostile and verbally abusive. That will do them no favors in a situation like this.
     
    Caesar753, bandnerdtx, Reagan and 2 others like this.
  13. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2005
    Messages:
    13,843
    Likes Received:
    1,678

    Jun 7, 2016

    Hopefully your P will be supportive in your meeting. It's difficult, but it's important not to get defensive or emotional. Let the parents know, if they bring it up, that your report was not an attack on them. The well-being of your students is your primary concern, and you are bound, by law, to report neglect/abuse if you suspect it. Let them know that you care about their child and only want what's best; offer to help in any way you can.
     
    Caesar753, Sterling1201 and Obadiah like this.
  14. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2015
    Messages:
    1,323
    Likes Received:
    807

    Jun 7, 2016

    You followed the procedures and you are, I assume in your state, required by law to do so. I'm shocked that the administrator is not supporting you and that the social worker broke confidentiality. I am confused as to why you had to make the call in the first place--everywhere I've taught, the procedure was for the administrator to take further action in order to protect the teacher.
     
  15. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2005
    Messages:
    13,843
    Likes Received:
    1,678

    Jun 7, 2016

    Here, we are expected to make the call, but we are asked to let our administrator know that we are doing so. If they are aware, they will provide us coverage for our class so that we can call, and be sure we have a private place to do so. They like to be informed just so that they aren't blind-sided by parents or by Children's Aid showing up at the school. A former administrator tried to talk people out of making those phone calls; she received a rather severe slap on the wrist when that came to light.
     
    Caesar753 likes this.
  16. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

    Joined:
    May 8, 2008
    Messages:
    8,316
    Likes Received:
    1,440

    Jun 7, 2016

    Good heavens! I would contact CPS to report that social worker for putting you in harm's way.
     
    bandnerdtx and Reagan like this.
  17. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2005
    Messages:
    5,277
    Likes Received:
    745

    Jun 7, 2016

    Same here. I've called before when admin did not think it was necessary. I'm a mandated reporter. I'm not the investigator so if I see something suspicious, I'm reporting whether I have admin support or not.
    The time I called without admin thinking I should was a time a child was being abused. I hate that there was something to my suspicions but I sleep better knowing I did what was right.
     
  18. phillyteacher

    phillyteacher Comrade

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2015
    Messages:
    284
    Likes Received:
    124

    Jun 7, 2016

    I just redid my mandated reporter training and they emphasized over and over that it is not the teacher's job to decide what is going on, only to report any suspicion. You did the right thing. Here, it is absolutely the responsibility of the teacher to make the report (and also it's a good practice to notify admin but the teacher should make the report).
     
    Caesar753 and bandnerdtx like this.
  19. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2006
    Messages:
    2,813
    Likes Received:
    52

    Jun 8, 2016

    please document everything, including the DS worker telling the parents.
     

Share This Page

test