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January 9th, 2013

School Policies re: Sex Abuse of Students – The Importance of Training and Education

Sex abuse of a student by a teacher or school employee generally does not occur out of the blue. The abuser will often groom his or her victim prior to beginning the abuse. The abuser will spend extra time with the potential victim. Oftentimes, the abuser gives gifts to the victim. Many abusers will not begin the sexual abuse until they are confident that their victims will not report the abuse.

In a school setting such “grooming” often does not go unnoticed. Other teachers and students usually notice the extra attention or the gifts. In some instances sex abuse that occurs on school property may be witnessed by others. However, the abuse is never reported, or worse, is covered up. It is incumbent upon a school to have a clear policy about mandatory reporting of sexual abuse by school employees. Failure to have a policy can subject the school to liability.

The Importance of Training School Employees About Sex Abuse Reporting Policies

In addition to having a policy about reporting sex abuse, it is vital that school administrators train employees on the following:

  • assessing sex abuse reports and complaints,
  • conducting interviews of the reporter, child/victim, suspected abuser, and others, such as potential witnesses,
  • looking for evidence,
  • understanding and complying with the state’s mandatory reporting requirements,
  • reporting the complaint to authorities.

Sex abuse of students by teachers and other school employees is a sad reality. Whether by a teacher or a coach, students who are victims of sex abuse are often afraid to report the abuse. Many wait years to even tell another person about the abuse.

However, in many instances, the abuse could have been reported by others, such as a fellow teacher or student, but sadly, the abuse continued because the school failed to have a policy about reporting sex abuse. Schools which 1. fail to adopt a policy about reporting sex abuse and/or 2. fail to train employees about the policy may be held liable for failing to prevent or stop sexual abuse of a student.

More articles by our school sex abuse lawyers:

School Sex Abuse Lawyer in Pennsylvania & New Jersey

If you would like to speak to a civil sex abuse lawyer who handles school sex abuse cases, call Click To Call. Firm founder, Guy D’Andrea is a former sex crimes unit prosecutor who has devoted his career to helping sex abuse victims find justice.

Laffey Bucci D’Andrea Reich & Ryan handles school sex abuse cases in the Northeast area with offices in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York.  Attorneys at the firm are licensed in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. In addition, the firm has the resources and experience to handle school sex abuse cases in all states and welcomes calls from local counsel about potential cases. Click To Call

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