Child Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation Prevention
Staff are expected to report every instance of suspected child abuse, neglect, or exploitation. Child abuse as defined by the statutes can be inflicted “by any person” and may include student-on-student abuse. Sample indicators of abuse and neglect are listed below.
All staff are reminded of their legal obligation as district employees to report suspected child abuse, neglect, or exploitation. All staff are also reminded of their immunity from potential liability for doing so.
The following procedures are to be used in reporting instances of suspected child abuse, neglect, or exploitation:
- When there is reasonable cause to believe that a student has suffered abuse, neglect, or exploitation, staff or the principal shall contact the nearest office of the child protective services (CPS) of the department of social and health services (DSHS) and the police or sheriff. Such contact must be made within forty-eight (48) hours. The legal authority has the responsibility of determining the fact of child abuse or neglect.
- Staff shall inform the principal/designee of instances of reported suspected abuse, neglect, or exploitation. In his or her absence, the report will be made to the nurse or counselor.
- A written report shall be submitted promptly to the agency to which the phone report was made. The report shall include:
- the name, address, and birth date of the child;
- the name and address of the parent or person having custody of the child;
- the nature and extent of the suspected abuse or neglect;
- any evidence of previous abuse or neglect or any other information that may relate to the cause or extent of the abuse or neglect;
- siblings and/or other members of the home; and
- the identify, if known, of the person accused of inflicting the abuse.
- When the district receives a report that a school employee has committed an act of sexual misconduct, it will notify the parents of the alleged victim within forty-eight (48) hours.
Physical abuse indicators:
- Bilateral bruises, extensive bruises, bruises of different ages, patterns of bruises caused by a particular instrument (belt buckle, wire, straight edge, coat hanger, etc.) or unreasonable use of force (grabbing, pinching, dragging, and/or other unapproved forms of restraint);
- Burn patterns consistent with forced immersion in a hot liquid (a distinct boundary line where the burn stops), burn patterns consistent with a spattering by hot liquids, patterns caused by a particular kind of implement (electric iron, etc.) or instrument (circular cigarette burns, etc.).
- Lacerations, welts, abrasions.
- Injuries inconsistent with information offered by the child.
- Injuries inconsistent with the child's age.
- Injuries that regularly appear after absence or vacation.
Emotional Abuse Indicators:
- Lags in physical development;
- Extreme behavior disorder;
- Fearfulness of adults or authority figures; or
- Revelations of highly inappropriate adult behavior, i.e., being enclosed in a dark closet, forced to drink or eat inedible items.
Sexual Abuse Indicators
Sexual abuse, whether physical injuries are sustained or not, is any act or acts involving intentional sexual contact, conduct or communication with a child. Beyond direct evidence of this kind of abuse, indicators may include but are not limited to:
- A child’s developmentally inappropriate sexual conduct, regardless of the child’s own mental status or development;
- Child engaging in “sex talk”, drawing, or attempting to access pornography;
- Child’s disclosure of “grooming behavior” or inappropriate conduct that does not necessarily rise to a specific sexual act;
- An adult’s attempt to form a secret of unreasonably special relationship with a child;
- Venereal disease in a child of any age;
- Evidence of physical trauma or bleeding to the oral, genital or anal areas; or
Physical Neglect Indicators
- Lack of basic needs (food, clothing, safety, shelter).
- Inadequate supervision.
- Lack of essential health care and high incidence of illness.
- Poor hygiene on a regular basis;
- Inappropriate clothing in inclement weather; or
Some Behavioral Indicators of Abuse:
- Wary of adult contact;
- Frightened of parents;
- Afraid to go home;
- Habitually truant or late to school;
- Arrives at school early and remains after school later than other students;
- Weary of physical contact by adults;
- Shows evidence of overall poor care;
- Parents or caretakers describe child as “difficult” or “bad”
- Inappropriately dressed for the weather – no coat or shoes in cold weather or long sleeves and high necklines in hot weather (possibly hiding marks of abuse); or
- Exhibits behavioral extremes: crying often or never, unusually aggressive or withdrawn and fearful.
Note: Indicators in and of themselves do not necessarily prove that abuse, neglect, or exploitation has occurred. However, they still may warrant a referral to CPS or law enforcement. When in doubt, staff should consult with CPS about making a report.
Child abuse as defined by the statutes can be inflicted by any person and may include student-on-student abuse. These cases also require reporting to CPS or law enforcement.
Initially Adopted: March 5, 1981
Adopted: February 22, 2010
Amended: April 11, 2011
Amended: October 26, 2015