Bulloch County School Schools adheres to child abuse reporting requirements found in O.C.G.A §§ 19-7-5 and 20-2-751.7 (“mandatory reporting”), as well as the Professional Standards Commission’s state mandated reporter process for students, volunteers, and employees to follow when reporting instances of abuse, including alleged inappropriate sexual or abusive behavior by another school employee.
Any student who has been the victim at school, home or any location of an act of abuse, sexual abuse, sexual misconduct, neglect or other inappropriate behavior by a teacher, administrator or other school system employee is urged to make a report of the act to any teacher, counselor or administrator at his/her school. Any parent/guardian or friend of a student who becomes aware a student has been the victim of abuse is also urged to make a report directly to DFCS.
What is the purpose of the mandatory reporting law?
The Georgia law mandates reports of suspected child abuse by school employees. O.C.G.A. § 19-7-5(a) states that its purpose is to provide for the protection of children. Mandatory reporting of abuse is intended “to cause the protective services of the state to be brought to bear on the situation”. Finally, it states that the law “shall be liberally construed so as to carry out the[se] purposes”.
What is child abuse?
Child abuse includes, but is not limited to, physical injury; death; neglect; exploitation; sexual abuse and sexual exploitation (including prostitution or sexually explicit conduct); verbal, psychological, or emotional abuse. O.C.G.A. § 19-7-5.
To whom do these requirements apply?
All District employees and volunteers are mandatory reporters under the law.
Anyone “employed by or volunteering at a business or an organization, whether public, private, for profit, not for profit, or voluntary, that provides care, treatment, education, training, supervision, coaching, counseling, recreational programs, or shelter to children” is a mandatory reporter. O.C.G.A. § 19-7-5(b)(5).
When does the report have to be made?
An oral report of suspected abuse, “shall be made immediately, but in no case later than 24 hours from the time there is reasonable cause to believe a child has been abused, by telephone or otherwise and followed by a report in writing, if requested, to a child welfare agency providing protective services . . . or, in the absence of such agency, to an appropriate police authority or district attorney.” O.C.G.A. § 19-7-5(e).
What are the penalties for failure to report or an untimely report?
In addition to professional repercussions, such as termination of employment, a person required to report a suspected case of child abuse who knowingly and willfully fails to do so shall be guilty of a criminal misdemeanor. O.C.G.A. § 19-7-5(h).
What does the law say about how to make report?
If danger is imminent, call DFCS at 1-855-422-4453 and if no answer, or if no oral report is taken, call 911.
If a person is required to report child abuse, “that person shall notify the person in charge of the facility, or the designated delegate thereof, and the person so notified shall report or cause a report to be made in accordance with this Code section. An employee or volunteer who makes a report to the person designated pursuant to this paragraph shall be deemed to have fully complied with this subsection.” O.C.G.A. § 19-7-5.