Decatur County Community Schools
Administrative Guidelines


In compliance with School Board policy and State statute, professional staff members are required to report to the proper legal authorities any sign of child abuse or neglect. The child may suffer from physical abuse and neglect, sexual abuse, and/or emotional maltreatment. Basically, physical abuse is the nonaccidental, physical injury of a child; physical neglect is the failure to provide proper parental care, support medical attention, and education for a child; sexual abuse is any indecent sexual activity; and emotional maltreatment is failure to provide warmth, attention, supervision, and/or normal living experiences for a child.

A child who is being abused may also be hyperactive, act fearful of adults, cling to adults, and/or be anxious, tense, and nervous.

Suspected Abuse/Neglect by Parents

Parents who are abusing their child may:



be reluctant to give information;



describe a story that doesn't fit the injury;



have an inappropriate reaction to severity of injury;



express unreasonable expectations for child's performance;



claim conditions that do not exist, e.g.


"S/He bruises easily."


"S/He moves constantly." (Child sits quietly.)



indicate family problems such as marital discord, crowding, financial stress, psychological disorders, retardation, alcohol or drug addiction, etc.

Children in Need of Services

In accordance with law (I.C. 33-34-1 et seq), a child is in need of services, if before s/he is eighteen (18) years of age, one of the following conditions exist and the child needs care, treatment, or rehabilitation that the child:



is not receiving and



is unlikely to be provided or accepted without the coercive intervention of the court.



The child's physical or mental condition is seriously impaired or seriously endangered as a result of the inability, refusal, or neglect of the child's parents, guardian, or custodian to supply the child with necessary food, clothing, shelter, medical care, education, or supervision.



The child's physical or mental health is seriously endangered due to injury by the act or omission of the child's parent, guardian, or custodian:



The child is the victim of a sex offense under:



I.C. 35-42-4-1



I.C. 35-42-4-2



I.C. 35-42-4-3



I.C. 35-42-4-4



I.C. 35-42-4-7



I.C. 35-42-4-9



I.C. 35-45-4-1



I.C. 35-45-4-2



I.C. 35-46-1-3



The child's parent, guardian, or custodian allows the child to participate in an obscene performance (as defined by I.C. 35-49-2-2 or I.C. 35-49-3-2).



The child's parent, guardian, or custodian allows the child to commit a sex offense prohibited by I.C. 35-45-4.



The child substantially endangers the child's own health or the health of another individual.



The child's parent, guardian, or custodian fails to participate in disciplinary proceeding in connection with the student's improper behavior, as provided for by I.C. 20-8.1-5.1-19, if the behavior of the student has been repeatedly disruptive in the school.



The child is a missing child (as defined in I.C. 10-1-7-2).



The child is deprived of nutrition that is necessary to sustain life or is deprived of medical or surgical intervention that is necessary to remedy or ameliorate a life threatening medical condition; if the nutrition, medical or surgical intervention is generally provided to similarly situated children with or without disabilities.



If a parent, guardian, or custodian fails to provide specific medical treatment for a child because of the legitimate and genuine practice of the religious beliefs of the parent, guardian, or custodian, a rebuttable presumption arises that the child is not a child in need of services because of the failure. However, this presumption does not do any of the following:



prevent a juvenile court from ordering, when the health of a child requires, medical services from a physician licensed to practice medicine in Indiana



apply to situations in which the life or health of a child is in serious danger



limit the right of a parent, guardian, or custodian of a child to use reasonable corporal punishment when disciplining the child



limit the lawful practice or teaching of religious beliefs

Procedure for Reporting

All suspected cases are to be reported even if documentation is not available. In accordance with statute, there is a duty for a staff member to immediately notify the building principal. A "victim of child abuse or neglect" refers to a child in need of services as described above. It does not include a child who is alleged to be a child in need of services if the child is alleged to be a victim of a sexual offense under I.C. 35-42-4-3 involves the fondling or touching of the buttocks, genitals, or female breasts.

The law provides protection for the reporting staff member. All staff members are to report to the student's principal who, in turn, shall make an oral report to Children's Protection Service or the Decatur County Sheriff Department. The staff member is not relieved of the obligation to report to one of the above agencies unless a report has already been filed to the best of the individual's belief (I.C. 31-33-5).

It is the responsibility of the Children's Protection Service to investigate possible abuse and/or neglect and prepare a written report within forty-eight (48) hours. School personnel should not pressure the child to divulge information regarding any injury or other circumstances surrounding the abuse and/or neglect. The school need not provide that abuse and/or neglect exists before reporting. They need only suspect that abuse and/or neglect has or is currently occurring.

Investigation of Child Abuse or Neglect

Investigators who seek to interview a student who is suspected victim of abuse or neglect must make the request to the principal who shall determine from the investigator whether or not it is appropriate to notify the student's parents. If it is appropriate, the principal should notify the parents of the time and place of the impending interview.

Suspected Abuse by Staff Members

If a staff member is suspected of abuse, his/her supervisor should be notified immediately and the matter kept in strict confidence by the reporting person. The supervisor shall follow the Corporation's due-process procedures for dealing with an employee's real or alleged violation of any law or Corporation policy. This procedure does not negate the requirement for the reporting person to report the suspected abuse to the proper agency.

© Neola 2002