Frequently Asked Questions
These exposures have always existed in schools, so why are schools now seeing such an increase in claims?
Beginning January 1, 2009, Government Code Section 905 and Civil Code Section 340.1 extended the statute to file a lawsuit for minors from age 18 to age 26 without the need to file a tort claim. The extended term for filing claims has now increased a school’s liability exposures, which creates a much longer negative fiscal impact. In addition, Insurance Code Section 11583 allows for no tolling of prior statute if the district “pays for counseling” and does not notify the victim of their right to file a claim. This means the exposure can now be indefinite with limited to no statutory defense in certain situations.
What laws are in place to protect kids in schools?
Local law enforcement and district attorneys are filing criminal actions against school district employees who fail to report “reasonably suspicious” sexual abuse incidents under Mandated Reporter laws. A principal was recently convicted for failing to report suspicious activity of the teacher who molested several students.
Who are Mandated Reporters?
All district employees are considered Mandated Reporters. Essentially, teachers, counselors, coaches, instructional aides, certificated employees, teacher aides or assistants, nurses, administrators and classified employees such as clerical and custodial are all classified as Mandated Reporters.
As an employee of a Community College District, am I considered a mandated reporter?
Yes. Community College employees, and administrators, whose duties bring them in contact with children on a regular basis, or who supervise employees who are in contact with children on a regular basis are considered mandated reporters. A common example would be those employees and administrators who work within, or supervise employees who work within, a community college child development center.
Why Have Mandated Reporters Failed to Report Suspicious Activities?
Employees often anguish over making reports because the alleged abuser is someone they have known for years or might respect well such as a teacher, principal or coach. We’ve been told by client employees that they feel district management may disregard their complaints or that internal investigations are conducted with no negative findings and never reported. However, it’s important to note that a Mandated Reporter has complete immunity as the law is intended to encourage people to report suspected incidents without fear of retribution.
What is the District’s responsibility?
Prior to employment, anyone who is categorized as a Mandated Reporter must sign a statement that they have knowledge of the mandated reporter requirements. This statement must be provided by the employer, which in this instance would be the District. The statement must inform the person that he or she is a Mandated Reporter and inform the person of the reporting obligations. The signed statement should be retained by the employer and placed in the employee’s personnel file.
What are the Mandated Reporting Requirements?
Mandated Reporting laws require reporting “immediately or as soon as is reasonably possible by telephone and transmit a written follow up report within 36 hours of receiving the information.” You must report to the police (not the school police) or child protective services.
What if someone files a suspected abuse report, but it turns out to be a false incident?
A Mandated Reporter has immunity from civil and criminal liability, even if the report is incorrect, negligent, reckless, or intentionally false. Immunity applies even if the Mandated Reporter acquired the knowledge or reasonable suspicion outside of his or her professional capacity or outside the scope of employment. Basically, it’s best to err on the side of caution and report.
What are the Mandated Reporters’ and the District’s responsibilities to maintain confidentiality?
Mandated reporters are held to the strictest standards of confidentiality. The required Suspected Child Abuse Report must be sent to your local Child Protective Services (CPS). The report must not be disclosed to anyone other than the local CPS or your local police or sheriff department (not the school police). Districts, and district employees, can be liable for negligent disclosure of the report.
What can Districts do to train employees?
Effective January 1, 2015, AB 1432 requires that all school districts, county offices of education (COEs), state special schools and diagnostic centers operated by the California Department of Education (CDE), and charter schools and their school personnel in California, provide training to employees on child abuse and neglect reporting. Training is available at no cost through Keenan’s Abuse Prevention Center.
What trainings are available to my school district?
Keenan created a Mandated Reporter and Awareness Program and provides access to several online training courses to help schools raise awareness, train and provide the regulatory required Mandated Reporter training. Through Keenan SafeSchools, our award winning learning management system, all employees within a school district can take courses such as Mandated Reporter: Child Abuse and Neglect, Sexual Misconduct: Staff to Student, Online Predators, Child Abuse: Identification & Intervention, Boundary Invasion, Diversity Awareness: Staff to Student, Dating Violence and Youth Suicide: Awareness & Prevention. To access these courses, visit our online training page.
What is the cost for the Keenan Mandated Reporting and Awareness Program?
Effective January 1, 2015, AB 1432 requires that all school districts, county offices of education (COEs), state special schools and diagnostic centers operated by the California Department of Education (CDE), and charter schools and their school personnel in California, provide training to employees on child abuse and neglect reporting. Training is critical to raising awareness and there is no cost to California public school districts for Keenan’s Mandated Reporting and Awareness Training Programs.
How do I get access to the Keenan SafeSchools training?
If your district is currently a member of any program administered or managed by Keenan (PIPS, SAFER, SWACC, NCR or SCR) you already have access and the course is available in your Keenan SafeSchools library. You can also contact your local Keenan Account Manager for assistance. If you are not currently a member of one of the above programs, access can be obtained by completing our online training request form.