Many school employees are legally obligated to report any suspicion of child abuse and neglect, but sometimes that authority is misused.
Caroline Preston, Rebecca Klein
November 17, 2018
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Tags: Foster Youth
Organizations mentioned/involved: National Coalition for Child Protection Reform, New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI)
School employees in most states have a legal obligation to report any suspicion of abuse and neglect, and they can play a critical role in helping keep children out of harm’s way. But in nearly three dozen interviews conducted by The Hechinger Report and HuffPost, parents, lawyers, advocates and child welfare officials said that schools occasionally wield this authority in inappropriate ways.
Fed up with what they see as obstinate parents who don’t agree to special education services for their child, or disruptive kids who make learning difficult, schools sometimes use the threat of a child-protection investigation to strong-arm parents into complying with the school’s wishes or transferring their children to a new school. That approach is not only improper, but it can be devastating for families, even if the allegations are ultimately determined to be unfounded.