Having represented school teachers throughout Southern California for over 30 years, I can tell you that teachers are trained as to their legal obligation to report “suspected child abuse”.
Ideally, teachers would always want to do the right thing to make sure that their students are not abused. However, the problem often arises as to what is “reasonable suspicion” of child abuse. A student comes to class with a bruise on his cheek, and the student says that he “hit himself”. The teacher may wonder if the student is telling the truth, but is that “reasonable suspicion” to report a parent for possible child abuse?
Teachers realize that when a report is made, CPS is now going to get involved, and parents are going to be contacted. The system often makes mistakes and takes children away from their parents when parents have done nothing wrong.
Teachers are also human beings with feelings and emotions. So long as the law is written in a manner that states you need to report when you have a “reasonable suspicion” of child abuse, there will always be problems because what may be a “reasonable suspicion” to one teacher may not be “reasonable” to another.
The problem teachers face is that if they do not report, and someone “looking back” feels they should have reported, they could face criminal prosecution.
The safest decision, and the one that will always protect children, is to report anything that may be considered by the teacher to be “child abuse” and let the experts take it from there.
If you have any questions regarding child abuse in Southern California, please call Wallin & Klarich today. For over 30 years, our Orange County child abuse defense lawyers have represented many teachers facing charges for child abuse in California, as well as those failing to report child abuse in Orange, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura Counties. Call us at 888-280-6839.