Randolph County Schools
Administrative Guidelines
 

8462 - STUDENT ABUSE AND NEGLECT

In compliance with Board of Education policy and State statute, Board employees and officials are required to report to the proper legal authorities (i.e., the public children's services agency or local law enforcement agency) suspected child abuse or neglect. Child abuse/neglect reporting procedures apply to students under the age of eighteen (18) and students under the age of twenty-one (21) who are physically impaired, mentally retarded, or developmentally disabled who have been abused (physically or mentally) or neglected or face the threat of being abused or neglected.

Any person, official or institution participating in good faith in any act permitted or required by W.V. Code 49-6A-1, et seq. shall be immune from any civil or criminal liability that otherwise might result by reason of such actions.

The following definitions shall apply:

 

A.

Abused Child

 
 

"Abused child" means a child whose health or welfare is harmed or threatened by:

 
 

1.

A parent, guardian or custodian who knowingly or intentionally inflicts, attempts to inflict or knowingly allows another person to inflict, physical injury or mental or emotional injury, upon the child or another child in the home; or

 
 

2.

Sexual abuse or sexual exploitation; or

 
 

3.

The sale or attempted sale of a child by a parent, guardian or custodian in violation of W.V. Code 48-4-16; or

 
 

4.

Domestic violence as defined in W.V. Code 48-27-202.

 
 

In addition to its broader meaning, physical injury may include an injury to the child as a result of excessive corporal punishment.

 
 

B.

Child Abuse and Neglect or Child Abuse or Neglect

 
 

"Child abuse and neglect" or "child abuse or neglect" means physical injury, mental or emotional injury, sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, sale or attempted sale or negligent treatment or maltreatment of a child by a parent, guardian or custodian who is responsible for the child's welfare, under circumstances which harm or threaten the health and welfare of the child.

 
 

C.

Imminent Danger to the Physical Well-Being of the Child

 
 

"Imminent danger to the physical well-being of the child" means an emergency situation in which the welfare or the life of the child is threatened. Such emergency situation exists when there is reasonable cause to believe that any child in the home is or has been sexually abused or sexually exploited, or reasonable cause to believe that the following conditions threaten the health or life of any child in the home:

 
 

1.

Non-accidental trauma inflicted by a parent, guardian, custodian, sibling or a babysitter or other caretaker;

 
 

2.

A combination of physical and other signs indicating a pattern of abuse which may be medically diagnosed as battered child syndrome;

 
 

3.

Nutritional deprivation;

 
 

4.

Abandonment by the parent, guardian or custodian;

 
 

5.

Inadequate treatment of serious illness or disease;

 
 

6.

Substantial emotional injury inflicted by a parent, guardian or custodian; or

 
 

7.

Sale or attempted sale of the child by the parent, guardian or custodian.

 
 

D.

Neglected Child

 
 

"Neglected child" means a child:

 
 

1.

Whose physical or mental health is harmed or threatened by a present refusal, failure or inability of the child's parent, guardian or custodian to supply the child with necessary food, clothing, shelter, supervision, medical care or education, when such refusal, failure or inability is not due primarily to a lack of financial means on the part of the parent, guardian or custodian; or

 
 

2.

Who is presently without necessary food, clothing, shelter, medical care, education or supervision because of the disappearance or absence of the child's parent or custodian.

 
 

Neglected child does not mean a child whose education is conducted within the provisions of section one (W.V. Code 18-8-1), article eight, chapter eighteen of this code.

 
 

E.

Sexual Abuse

 
 

"Sexual abuse means":

 
 

1.

As to a child who is less than sixteen years of age, any of the following acts which a parent, guardian or custodian shall engage in, attempt to engage in, or knowingly procure another person to engage in, with such child, notwithstanding the fact that the child may have willingly participated in such conduct or the fact that the child may have suffered no apparent physical injury or mental or emotional injury as a result of such conduct:

 
 

a.

Sexual intercourse;

 
 

b.

Sexual intrusion; or

 
 

c.

Sexual contact;

 
 

2.

As to a child who is sixteen years of age or older, any of the following acts which a parent, guardian or custodian shall engage in, attempt to engage in, or knowingly procure another person to engage in, with such child, notwithstanding the fact that the child may have consented to such conduct or the fact that the child may have suffered no apparent physical injury or mental or emotional injury as a result of such conduct:

 
 

a.

Sexual intercourse;

 
 

b.

Sexual intrusion; or

 
 

c.

Sexual contact

 
 

3.

Any conduct whereby a parent, guardian or custodian displays his or her sex organs to a child, or procures another person to display his or her sex organs to a child, for the purpose of gratifying the sexual desire of the parent, guardian or custodian, of the person making such display, or of the child, or for the purpose of affronting or alarming the child.

 
 

F.

Sexual Contact

 
 

"Sexual contact" means sexual contact as that term is defined in W.V. Code 61-8B-1.

 
 

G.

Sexual Exploitation

 
 

"Sexual exploitation" means an act whereby:

 
 

1.

A parent, custodian or guardian, whether for financial gain or not, persuades, induces, entices or coerces a child to engage in sexually explicit conduct as that term is defined in W.V. Code 61-8C-1.

 
 

2.

A parent, guardian or custodian persuades, induces, entices or coerces a child to display his or her sex organs for the sexual gratification of the parent, guardian, custodian or a third person, or to display his or her sex organs under circumstances in which the parent, guardian or custodian knows such display is likely to be observed by others who would be affronted or alarmed.

 
 

H.

Sexual Intercourse

 
 

"Sexual intercourse" means sexual intercourse as that term is defined in W.V. Code 61-8B-1.

 
 

I.

Sexual Intrusion

 
 

"Sexual intrusion" means sexual intrusion as that term is defined in W.V. Code 61-8B-1.

 
 

J.

Serious Physical Abuse

 
 

"Serious physical abuse" means bodily injury which creates a substantial risk of death, which causes serious or prolonged disfigurement, prolonged impairment of health or prolonged loss or impairment of the function of any bodily organ.

Procedure for Reporting

Each employee or volunteer of this County who knows or has reasonable cause to suspect child abuse or neglect, or observes a child being subjected to conditions that are likely to result in abuse or neglect, shall be responsible for reporting or causing a report of the suspected abuse or neglect to be made within forty-eight (48) hours to the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) and in accordance with the Superintendentís guidelines. Such reporting shall be required in every case that where there is reasonable cause to suspect that a child under the age of eighteen (18) or a physically or mentally disabled child under the age of twenty-one (21) has been abused or neglected or faces the threat of being abused or neglected.

Any person over the age of eighteen who receives a disclosure from a credible witness or observes any sexual abuse or sexual assault of a child, shall immediately, and not more than forty-eight hours after receiving such a disclosure or observing the sexual abuse or sexual assault, report the circumstances or cause a report to be made to the Department of Health and Human Resources or the State Police or other law-enforcement agency having jurisdiction to investigate the report.

In the event that the individual receiving the disclosure or observing the sexual abuse or sexual assault has a good faith belief that the reporting of the event to the police would expose either the reporter, the subject child, the reporterís children or other children in the subject childís household to an increased threat of serious bodily injury, the individual may delay making the report while he or she undertakes measures to remove themselves or the affected children from the perceived threat of additional harm; however, the individual must make the report as soon as practicable after the threat of harm has been reduced. The law enforcement agency that receives a report shall report the allegations to the Department of Health and Human Resources and coordinate with any other law-enforcement agency, as necessary to investigate the report.

Additionally, any person who has reasonable cause to suspect that a child has died as a result of child abuse or neglect shall report that fact to the appropriate medical examiner or coroner.

Any person, official or institution that knowingly fails to report child abuse or neglect to the DHHR or prevents another person from doing so shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

A staff member or volunteer who suspects child abuse or neglect shall immediately notify the person in charge of the school or facility of such suspicion. Upon such notification, the person in charge of the school or facility may supplement or cause an additional report to be made to the local office of the Department of Health and Human Services, by telephone, of such suspected abuse or neglect and shall follow up the telephone notification, if requested to do so by the receiving agency, with a written report, within forty-eight (48) hours. In cases where the reporter believes that the child suffered serious physical abuse or sexual abuse or assault, the reporter shall immediately notify the State Police and appropriate law enforcement agency having jurisdiction and shall secure prompt medical attention to any such injuries reported.

Nothing herein shall preclude the person first suspecting abuse or neglect from notifying the appropriate agencies on their own behalf, in addition to following the reporting requirements contained herein.

Any person required to report cases of children suspected of being abused and neglected may take or cause to be taken, at public expense, photographs of the areas of trauma visible on a child and, if medically indicated, cause to be performed radiological examinations of the child. Any photographs or X-rays taken shall be sent to the appropriate child protective service agency as soon as possible.

Child abuse/neglect reporting procedures should be reviewed with staff members periodically, including the potential criminal penalties for failing to report suspected abuse and/or neglect.

 

A.

The oral report notifying the children services or law enforcement agency shall occur immediately after the staff member first suspects the abuse or neglect, and in no event later than forty-eight (48) hours.

 
 

B.

In order to facilitate a thorough and effective report, efforts should be made to provide the appropriate agency with any readily available supporting information concerning the incident. Staff members may use the checklist provided in Form 8462 F1 as a guide to assist in organizing readily available information prior to making the call.

 
 

(Under no circumstances should the report be delayed on the basis that any such information is not readily available.)

 
 

C.

The reporting employee shall promptly notify the student's principal that a report has been made. The principal shall verify and document that the suspected case has been properly reported by the employee. The principal may supplement or cause an additional report to the public children's services agency or local law enforcement agency. Although the obligation to report belongs to each individual who suspects child abuse/neglect, there is nothing prohibiting the reporting employee and the principal from making the oral report jointly to the appropriate agency; however, the coordination of a joint report should not delay the report of suspected child abuse/neglect.

 
 

D.

Since it is the responsibility of the social worker and/or law enforcement agency to investigate possible abuse and/or neglect, 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 prove that abuse and/or neglect exists before reporting. They need only suspect that abuse and/or neglect has or is currently occurring.

     
 

E.

The oral report shall be followed, not more than five (5) days later, by a written report from the staff member, if requested by the social service or law enforcement agency receiving the oral report. The report is to include all information given at the time of the oral report and any other information that is available from the school that may be helpful in the investigation of the report.

INVESTIGATION OF CHILD ABUSE OR NEGLECT

Investigators who seek to interview a student who is a suspected victim of abuse or neglect are subject to the interrogation procedures in Policy 5540.

If the interviewer directs that parents are not to be notified, the principal shall record this direction and request the interviewer to sign a written statement that s/he directed the principal to permit the interview without prior notification of the parents. If the interviewer refuses to sign the statement, the principal shall prepare another written statement that the Board has been directed by the Superintendent to make the named student available for interview or interrogation without notice to the parents and request the interviewer to sign this statement. If the interviewer refuses, the principal shall record the time, date, interviewer's name/title/badge number, and that the interviewer refused to sign the statement. The principal shall sign this record and maintain it in the school files.

The Superintendent shall, following the giving of the report to the authorities, make a reasonable number of inquiries as to:

 

A.

whether the department or board has initiated an investigation of the report;

 
 

B.

whether the department or board is continuing to investigate the report;

 
 

C.

whether the department or board is otherwise involved with the child who is the subject of the report;

 
 

D.

the general status of the health and safety of the child who is the subject of the report;

 
 

E.

whether the report has resulted in the filing of a complaint in juvenile court or of criminal charges in another court.

The Department of Health and Human Resources shall develop and implement a procedure to notify any person mandated to report suspected child abuse and neglect under the provisions of W.V. Code 49-6A-2 of whether an investigation into the reported suspected abuse or neglect has been initiated and when the investigation is completed.

Suspected Abuse/Neglect by Parents

Parents who are abusing their child may:

 

A.

be reluctant to give information;

 
 

B.

describe a story that doesn't fit the injury;

 
 

C.

have an inappropriate reaction to the severity of injury;

 
 

D.

express unreasonable expectations for the child's performance;

 
 

E.

claim conditions that do not exist, e.g.

 
 

"S/He bruises easily."

 
 

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

 
 

F.

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

When it is necessary to deal with parents who are suspected of child abuse, the staff member should try to be sympathetic and communicate a readiness to help. Parents are often beset by serious personal problems and possibly were themselves abused or neglected as children.

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 Board's due-process procedures for investigating and addressing an employee's actual or alleged violation of any law or Board policy. This procedure does not negate the requirement for the reporting person to report the suspected abuse to the proper agency. While the obligation to report belongs to each individual who suspects child abuse/neglect, there is nothing prohibiting the reporting employee and the supervisor from making the oral report jointly to the appropriate agency; however, the coordination of a joint report should not delay the report of suspected child abuse/neglect.

W.V. Code 18-8-1, 48-4-16, 48-27-202, 49-6A-1, et seq., 49-6A-2, 61-8B-1, 61-8C-1

Approved 1/23/12
Revised 6/3/13

© Neola 2013