What would you do?

Discussion in 'General Education Archives' started by mhcooley, Oct 7, 2006.

  1. mhcooley

    mhcooley Companion

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    Oct 7, 2006

    I have a seven year old second grader who told me his mother and father both work at night. He says his 11 year old sister takes care of him while his parents work. He had specific details like they heat up a pizza for supper. The mother calls them and tells them it is time for bed. He had a burn mark on his arm and said they(he and sister) tried to cook french fries. We had conferences this week and I asked the parents about their work schedule and dad said that he works at night but the mother doesn't. I mentioned to them that I was glad to hear that because a seven year old shouldn't be left at home with an eleven year old. They both agreed but left in a hurry. My question is: Should I leave this alone or do some more investigating. Should I call social services and let them do some investigating? I don't want to start something if there is nothing to start. However if something happened to this little boy and I knew he was alone and didn't do something I could be held reliable. What would you do? Is an eleven year old capable of caring for a seven year old? Why would this little boy make this up if it isn't true?
     
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  3. Beth2004

    Beth2004 Maven

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    Oct 7, 2006

    I would speak to the principal and make him/her aware of the situation. It doesn't sound to me like there is any serious neglect going on, but like you said, what if something does happen to this boy or his sister and you were aware that they are being left home alone?
    I don't know what state you're in, but in Massachusetts teachers are mandated reporters and can be held accountable (with fines, loss of license, etc) if it is found that they were aware of any child abuse/neglect and did not report it. Speak to your supervisor and see what he/she says about the situation. Maybe you and the principal could sit down with the parents and speak with them about what the child is saying.
     
  4. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Research your state laws as to the youngest a kid can babysit/be left alone. In MD they can be left alone at 8 years old. If there are two in the household, the oldest has to be 13. Its different for every state. I believe the law doesn't say we HAVE to know it exists. I think we have to report it if we have reasonable doubts. I would ask what the law requires you to do.
     
  5. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Unfortunately the parents probably arent' abusing the kid but are poor and need the money. The law is funny that way. They want to protect the kids, but they require parents to have bigger places to live than necessary and yet people can't afford to live espeically with rising costs.
     
  6. Beth2004

    Beth2004 Maven

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    I agree that I don't think the parents are intentionally doing anything malicious to try to hurt their children. They are just in financial need and both need to work nights. It's sad that they don't have anyone else to help them and I would hate to see these parents accused of seriously abusing their children, but you do have the obligation to make others aware of what the child is saying to you.
     
  7. elem_teacher3

    elem_teacher3 Companion

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    Oct 7, 2006

    In MO the age is 10....so the parents wouldn't be doing anything against the law. Now...here is the thing...before you call this in...make sure you have a real reason...because it is going to be a nightmare for the parents. I know we are mandated reporters...but sometimes as teachers we tend to jump to conclusions about what is going on in a home...just because it isn't how we would do it doesn't mean it is abuse.
     
  8. love2teach

    love2teach Enthusiast

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    Oct 7, 2006

    talk to your principal or school psy....they will know what to do and may already have background of the family and situtaion.
     
  9. Tbelle1035

    Tbelle1035 Cohort

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    Your school nurse may be able to help you as well. How sad, I agree they must really need the money. If Mom is constantly checking in with the kids, I am sure she feels she is doing her best to keep them safe. Maybe someone at school could speak with them about making some changes before considering a call to DSS.
     
  10. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Oct 8, 2006

    Can you live with yourself seeing burn marks and wondering about this child every day? Tell the administration, the nurse, the guidance counselor. Get as much information as you can. It may not be abuse or intentional neglect. These parents are struggling to work to provide for their family but their children ARE NOT safe at night home alone with just an 11 year old in charge. All of the above info is great advice- DO SOMETHING though!!
     
  11. daisyduck123

    daisyduck123 Companion

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    Oct 8, 2006

    I would first try calling the house a few times in the evenings, after 8 pm or so (I'm sure you can come up with a few things to talk about with mom if she does happen to be home) to see if there is an adult there. If mom is there each time, then you don't have a problem.
     
  12. becky

    becky Enthusiast

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    Oct 8, 2006

    I'm one of those parents who has no one to take care of my little one if the need arises. This is such a hard situation all the way around. I hope it all works out for the best.
     
  13. Giggles1100

    Giggles1100 Comrade

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    Oct 8, 2006

    Are you sure it is every night mom is gone, what if for one week mom had to work nights, to a seven year old, this is every night and i agree with others she should not do that, but hiring a sitter may cost too much money and I will tell you I used to walk home every day from the age of 9 on up and was home for about an hour before my parents got home from work. I did not feel neglected, although I would not let my kids do that, I was told I was very mature becuase I spent a lot of time with my parents at work in the summer. I also had strict rules of wha I could not do. althugh I did once make freckle juice , like the book but I never took care of siblings. They ay have a neighbor that checks in ont hem also. Talk to your principal and do a phone call to check.
     

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