Archive for the ‘Standard 4.E’ Category

Standard 4.E

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008

“Understand and uphold the legal and ethical responsibilities of teaching (e.g., federal and state laws and SBE policies pertaining to positive and effective learning environments, appropriate behavioral interventions, student retention, truancy, child abuse, safety, first aid, health, and communicable disease).”


I believe that teachers should be positive models to their students in all aspects of their lives. This includes upholding the law and maintaining ethical relationships with their students. One specific legal and ethical responsibility I have explored throughout my coursework has been the issues related to educators’ legal requirement to report child abuse.


For my senior honors thesis, I conducted interdepartmental research into educators’ roles in child abuse intervention. During this research, I first studied the actual policies in place regarding reporting requirements, as well as how reports are sorted and investigated once they are sent to Child Protective Services. After familiarizing myself with the actual policies, I sought to find how much our current educators knew about these policies and issues related to child abuse. I found that many educators had little to no formal training on issues related to child abuse and child abuse reporting, and that many educators often refrain from reporting suspicions of abuse due to disenchantment with the CPS system.


One of my interviewees, a clinical therapist at a prison, told me directly that we could clear the prisons if we could find a way to eliminate child abuse. The psychological effects of child abuse are devastating and hard to overcome. Prevention and awareness are good primary steps to take toward eliminating child abuse, but more needs to be done on an intervention level. Child Protective Services is not able to follow through on many reports because of a lack of resources (which is often the source of disenchantment that causes educators to not want to report abuse), but state funding to CPS agencies is in direct correlation to the number of reports each year. In order for CPS to be able to better investigate cases of child abuse, all suspicions should be reported so that CPS’ funding can reflect the real need for intervention.


Outside of the family, educators are the adults that spend the most time with young people. We are role models to students who may not have other positive role models in their lives, and we have the legal and ethical responsibility to make sure that students are taken care of. Students cannot function in school if their basic physiological and psychological needs are not first being met. In the future, I will continue to fight hard to bring further awareness to this issue, and will continue to encourage schools to provide formal training on issues related to child abuse.



          Educators’ Roles in Child Abuse Intervention research abstract