Policy 409

  •  MANDATED REPORTING OF CHILD NEGLECT

    OR PHYSICAL OR SEXUAL ABUSE

     

     

    I.          PURPOSE
     

    The purpose of this policy is to make clear the statutory requirements of school personnel to report suspected child neglect or physical or sexual abuse.

     

    II.         GENERAL STATEMENT OF POLICY

     

                A.        It is the policy of the school district to fully comply with Minn. Stat. § 626.556 requiring school personnel to report suspected child neglect or physical or sexual abuse.

     

                B.        It shall be a violation of this policy for any school personnel to fail to immediately report instances of child neglect, or physical or sexual abuse when the school personnel knows or has reason to believe a child is being neglected or physically or sexually abused or has been neglected or physically or sexually abused within the preceding three years.

     

    III.        DEFINITIONS

     

                A.        “Accidental” means a sudden, not reasonably foreseeable, and unexpected occurrence or event which:

                                        1.         is not likely to occur and could not have been prevented by exercise of due care; and

     

                                        2.         if occurring while a child is receiving services from a facility, happens when the facility and the employee or person proving services in the facility are in compliance with the laws and rules relevant to the occurrence of the event.                                                                                                       

     

                B.        “Child” means one under age 18.

     

                C         “Immediately” means as soon as possible but in no event longer than 24 hours.

     

                D.     “Mandated Reporter” means any school personnel who knows or has reason to believe a child is being neglected or physically or sexually abused, or has been neglected or physically or sexually abused within the preceding three years.

     

    E.        “Mental Injury” means an injury to the psychological capacity or emotional stability of a child as evidenced by an observable or substantial impairment in the child’s ability to function within a normal range of performance and behavior with due regard to the child’s culture.

     

                F.         “Neglect” means:

     

                            1.         failure by a person responsible for a child’s care to supply a child with necessary food, clothing, shelter, health, medical, or other care required for the child’s physical or mental health when reasonably able to do so, including a growth delay, which may be referred to as failure to thrive, that has been diagnosed by a physician and is due to parental neglect;

     

                            2.         failure to protect a child from conditions or actions that seriously endanger the child’s physical or mental health when reasonably able to do so;

     

                            3.         failure to provide for necessary supervision or child care arrangements appropriate for a child after considering factors such as the child’s age, mental ability, physical condition, length of absence, or environment, when the child is unable to care for his or her own basic needs or safety or the basic needs or safety of another child in his or her care;

     

                            4.         failure to ensure that a child is educated in accordance with state law, which does not include a parent’s refusal to provide his or her child with sympathomimetic medications;

     

                            5.         prenatal exposure to a controlled substance used by the mother for a nonmedical purpose, as evidenced by withdrawal symptoms in the child at birth, results of a toxicology test performed on the mother at delivery or the child’s birth, or medical effects or developmental delays during the child’s first year of life that medically indicate prenatal exposure to a controlled substance;

     

                            6.         medical neglect as defined by Minn. Stat. § 260C.007, subd. 4, clause (5);

     

                            7.         chronic and severe use of alcohol or a controlled substance by a parent or person responsible for the care of the child that adversely affects the child’s basic needs and safety; or

     

                            8.         emotional harm from a pattern of behavior which contributes to impaired emotional functioning of the child which may be demonstrated by a substantial and observable effect in the child’s behavior, emotional response, or cognition that is not within the normal range for the child’s age and stage of development, with due regard to the child’s culture.

     

                            Neglect does not include spiritual means or prayer for treatment or care of disease where the person responsible for the child’s care in good faith has selected and depended on those means for treatment or care of disease, except where the lack of medical care may cause serious danger to the child’s health.

     

    G.        “Person responsible for the child’s care” means (1) an individual functioning within the family unit and having responsibilities for the care of the child such as a parent, guardian, or other person having similar care responsibilities, or (2) an individual functioning outside the family unit and having responsibilities for the care of the child such as a teacher, school administrator, other school employees or agents, or other lawful custodian of a child having either full-time or short-term care responsibilities including, but not limited to, day care, babysitting whether paid or unpaid, counseling, teaching, and coaching.

     

    H.        “Physical Abuse” means any physical injury, mental injury, or threatened injury, inflicted by a person responsible for the child’s care other than by accidental means; or any physical or mental injury that cannot reasonably be explained by the child’s history of injuries or any aversive or deprivation procedures, or regulated interventions, that have not been authorized by Minn. Stat. § 121A.67 or § 245.825.

     

                            Abuse does not include reasonable and moderate physical discipline of a child administered by a parent or legal guardian that  does not result in an injury.  Abuse does not include the use of reasonable force by a teacher, principal, or school employee as allowed by Minn. Stat. § 121A.582.

     

                            Actions that are not reasonable and moderate include, but are not limited to, any of the following that are done in anger or without regard to the safety of the child: 

    1.    throwing, kicking, burning, biting, or cutting a child;

    2.    striking a child with a closed fist;

    3.    shaking a child under age three;

    4.    striking or other actions which result in any nonaccidental injury to a child under 18 months of age;

    5.    unreasonable interference with a child’s breathing;

    6.    threatening a child with a weapon, as defined in Minn. Stat. § 609.02, subd. 6;

    7.    striking a child under age one on the face or head;

    8.    purposely giving a child poison, alcohol, or dangerous, harmful, or controlled substances which were not prescribed for the child by a practitioner, in order to control or punish the child, or giving the child other substances that substantially affect the child’s behavior, motor coordination, or judgment or that result in sickness or internal injury, or subject the child to medical procedures that would be unnecessary if the child were not exposed to the substances;

    9.    unreasonable physical confinement or restraint not permitted under Minn. Stat. § 609.379 including, but not limited to, tying, caging, or chaining; or

    10.  in a school facility or school zone, an act by a person responsible for the child’s care, that is a violation under Minn. Stat. § 121A.58.

     

                 I.         “School Personnel” means professional employee or professional’s delegate of the school district who provides health, educational, social, psychological, law enforcement or childcare services.

     

                J.         “Sexual Abuse” means the subjection of a child by a person responsible for the child’s care, by a person who has a significant relationship to the child (as defined in Minn. Stat. § 609.341, s Subd. 15), or by a person in a position of authority (as defined in Minn. Stat. § 609.341, s Subd. 10) to any act which constitutes a violation of Minnesota statutes prohibiting criminal sexual conduct.  Such acts include sexual penetration as well as sexual contact.  Sexual abuse also includes any act involving a minor which constitutes a violation of Minnesota statutes prohibiting prostitution, or use of a minor in a sexual performance.  Sexual abuse includes threatened sexual abuse.

     

                K.        “Threatened injury” means a statement, overt act, condition, or status that represents a substantial risk of physical or sexual abuse or mental injury.  Threatened injury includes, but is not limited to, exposing a child to a person responsible for the child’s care who has subjected the child to, or failed to protect a child from, egregious harm, or a person whose parental rights were involuntarily terminated, been found palpably unfit, or one from whom legal and physical custody of a child has been involuntarily transferred to another.

     

    IV.       REPORTING PROCEDURES

     

                A.        A mandated reporter as defined herein shall immediately report  the neglect or physical or sexual abuse, which he or she knows or has reason to believe is happening or has happened within the preceding three years to the local welfare agency, police department, county sheriff, or agency responsible for assisting or investigating maltreatment. 

     

                B.        If the immediate report has been made orally, by telephone or otherwise, the oral report shall be followed by a written report within 72 hours (exclusive of weekends and holidays) to the appropriate police department, the county sheriff, local welfare agency, or agency responsible for assisting or investigating maltreatment.  The written report shall identify the child, any person believed to be responsible for the abuse or neglect of the child if the person is known, the nature and extent of the abuse or neglect and the name and address of the reporter.

     

                D.        A person mandated by Minnesota law and this policy to report who fails to report may be subject to criminal penalties and/or discipline, up to and including termination of employment.

     

                E.        Submission of a good faith report under Minnesota law and this policy will not adversely affect the reporter’s employment, or the child’s access to school.

     

    F.          Any person who knowingly or recklessly makes a false report under        

                           the provisions of applicable Minnesota law or this policy shall be liable in a civil suit for any actual damages suffered by the person or persons so reported and for any punitive damages set by the court or jury, and the reckless making of a false report may result in discipline.  The court may also award attorney’s fees.

     

                G.        The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) is responsible for assessing or investigating allegations of child maltreatment in schools. Administrative Guidelines 409.1 provides additional information regarding reporting suspected maltreatment in schools by school employees. 

     

     

    V.        INVESTIGATION

     

                A.        The responsibility for investigating reports of suspected neglect or physical or sexual abuse rests with the appropriate county, state, or local agency or agencies. The investigating agency may interview the child at school.  The interview may take place outside the presence of a school official.  The investigating agency, not the school, is responsible for either notifying or withholding notification of the interview to the parent, guardian or person responsible for the child’s care. School officials may not disclose to the parent, legal custodian, or guardian the contents of the notification or any other related information regarding the interview until notified in writing by the local welfare or law enforcement agency that the investigation or assessment has been concluded.

     

                B.        When the investigating agency determines that an interview should take place on school property, written notification of intent to interview the child on school property will be received by school officials prior to the interview.  The notification shall include the name of the child to be interviewed, the purpose of the interview, and a reference to the statutory authority to conduct an interview on school property.

     

                C.        Except where the alleged perpetrator is believed to be a school official or employee, the time and place, and manner of the interview on school premises shall be within the discretion of school officials, but the local welfare or law enforcement agency shall have the exclusive authority to determine who may attend the interview.  The conditions as to time, place, and manner of the interview set by the school officials shall be reasonable and the interview shall be conducted not more than 24 hours after the receipt of the notification unless another time is considered necessary by agreement between the school officials and the local welfare or law enforcement agency.  Every effort must be made to reduce the disruption of the educational program of the child, other students, or school employees when an interview is conducted on school premises.

     

                D.        Where the alleged perpetrator is believed to be a school official or employee, the school district shall conduct its own investigation in independent of MDE and, if involved, the local welfare or law enforcement agency.  Notwithstanding, mandatory reporting shall be conducted in accordance with Section IV above, and internal investigation activities shall be conducted following communication and coordination with MDE and / or other outside agencies.

     

                E.        Upon request by MDE, the school district shall provide all requested data that are relevant to a report of maltreatment and are in the possession of a school facility, pursuant to an assessment or investigation of a maltreatment report of a student  in school.  The school district shall provide the requested data in accordance with the requirements of the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act, Minn. Stat. Ch. 13 (specifically, Sect. 13.32, which governs educational data and 13.43, which governs personnel data), and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, 20 U.S.C. § 1232g.

     

    VI.       MAINTENANCE OF SCHOOL RECORDS CONCERNING ABUSE OR POTENTIAL ABUSE

     

                A.        When a local welfare or local law enforcement agency determines that a potentially abused or abused child should be interviewed on school property, written notification of the agency’s intent to interview on school property must be received by school officials prior to the interview.  The notification shall include the name of the child to be interviewed, the purpose of the interview, and a reference to the statutory authority to conduct the interview.  The notification shall be private data.  School officials may not disclose to the parent, legal custodian, or guardian the contents of the notice or any other related information regarding the interview until notified in writing by the local welfare or law enforcement agency that the investigation has been concluded.

     

                B.        All records regarding a report of maltreatment, including any notification of intent to interview which was received by the school as described above in Paragraph A, shall be destroyed by the school only when ordered by the agency conducting the investigation or by a court of competent jurisdiction.

     

    VII.      PHYSICAL OR SEXUAL ABUSE AS SEXUAL HARASSMENT OR VIOLENCE

     

    Under certain circumstances, alleged physical or sexual abuse may also be sexual harassment or violence under Minnesota law.  If so, the duties relating to the reporting and investigation of such harassment or violence may be applicable.

     

    VIII.     DISSEMINATION OF POLICY AND TRAINING

     

    A.           This policy shall appear in school personnel handbooks.

     

    B.        The school district will develop a method of discussing this policy

                 with school personnel.

     

    C. This policy shall be reviewed at least annually for compliance with state law.

     

     

     

    Legal References: 

    Minn. Stat. Ch. 13 (Minnesota Government Data Practices Act), especially Sections 13.32 (educational data) and 13.43 (personnel data)

    Minn. Stat. § 121A.58 (Corporal Punishment)

    Minn. Stat. § 121A.582 (Student Discipline; Reasonable Force)

    Minn. Stat. § 121A.67 (Aversive and Deprivation Procedures)

    Minn. Stat. § 245.825 (Use of Aversive or Deprivation Procedures)

    Minn. Stat. § 260C.007, Subd.4, clause (5) (Child in Need of Protection)

    Minn. Stat. § 609.02, Subd.6 (Definitions–Dangerous Weapon)

    Minn. Stat. § 609.341, Subd. 10 (Definitions–Position of Authority)

    Minn. Stat. § 609.341, Subd. 15 (Definitions–Significant Relationship)

    Minn. Stat. § 609.379 (Reasonable Force)

    Minn. Stat. § 626.556 et. seq. (Reporting of Maltreatment of Minors)

    20 U.S.C. § 1232g (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act)

     

    Cross References:

    Board Policy 410 (Mandated Reporting of Maltreatment of Vulnerable Adults)

     

     

    ADOPTED BY THE BOARD OF EDUCATION: August 4, 2003                                

    REVISED BY THE BOARD OF EDUCATION:   May 5, 2008

409.1

  •  

    RICHFIELD PUBLIC SCHOOLS

     

    MANDATED REPORTING OF CHILD MALTREATMENT IN SCHOOLS
     

    I.             PURPOSE

     

    The purpose of these administrative guidelines is to provide additional guidance regarding the reporting of child maltreatment in schools by school employees.

     

    II.            RESPONSIBILITY AND AUTHORITY OF MINNESOTA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

     

    Minn.Stat. §626.556 Subd. 3b, as revised in 1999, designated the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) as the agency responsible for assessing or investigating allegations of child maltreatment in schools as defined by Minn. Stat. §120A.05 Subd. 9, 11, and 13 and Minn. Stat. §124D.10 M.S.

     

    MDE and law enforcement are responsible for assessing and investigating reports of suspected maltreatment of school children in schools.  In conducting its assessments and investigations, MDE has the same broad powers and duties as local social service agencies when conducting child maltreatment investigations.  This includes access to relevant information necessary to conduct the assessment or investigation, as authorized by Minn. Stat. §626.556, Subd. 10b. 

     

    MDE has a right to access educational data and personnel data when needed for maltreatment investigations, pursuant to Minn. Stat. §13.32, Subd.3(n), and 13.43, Subd. 14.

     

    III.          REPORTING SUSPECTED CHILD MALTREATMENT IN SCHOOLS

     

    Professionals or professionals’ delegates engaged in education are legally mandated to report known or suspected maltreatment of minors, including instances of maltreatment that occur at school. If the known or suspected maltreatment occurred at school, it may be reported to one or more of the following:  (1) local law enforcement (Hennepin County Sheriff’s office or Richfield Department of Public Safety), (2) Hennepin County Social Services, or (3) MDE.   A form for reporting to MDE is appended. Although a report may be made to any of the agencies above, and there is no requirement to file more than one report, it would be helpful to MDE if the school also reports to MDE.

     

    Employees are also expected to inform a school administrator of known or suspected maltreatment that occurs at school, to allow the district to take appropriate action.  However, a report to the school administrator does not satisfy the statutory requirement to report to local law enforcement, social services or MDE.

     

    Additional information about mandated reporting of child maltreatment can be found on the MDE website (education.state.mn.us) under Accountability Programs

     

    Dated:            August 4, 2003

    Reviewed:    

    Revised         May 5, 2008