Policies and Procedures Handbook


Last Updated: 4/19/2005
Garrett County Public Schools
40 South Second Street
Oakland, MD 21550
(301)334-8900

CHILD ABUSE AND/OR NEGLECT POLICY

Board Policy

All employees of and volunteers for the Garrett County (Maryland Law Article 27, Section 35A and 5-704, 5-705, and 5-903) Public Schools who have reason to believe that a child has been subjected to physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect or mental injury are required to report the suspected abuse and/or neglect both orally and in writing. Anyone reporting in good faith is immune from any civil liability or criminal penalty. Anyone who fails to report may have his/her certificate suspended or revoked or may be dismissed.

Definitions

Child:

Any person under the age of eighteen (18) years.

Persons eighteen (18) years of age or older who are believed to lack the capacity to care for their daily needs ("vulnerable adults") are protected by the Adult Protective Services Program. A health practitioner, police officer or human service worker who suspects that a vulnerable adult has been subject to abuse, neglect, self-neglect, mental injury, or exploitation is required to report such a situation orally and in writing to the adult protective services division of the local department of social services. Any other person may make a report. Any person who makes a report under these provisions is entitled to confidentiality and immunity from civil liability.

Abuse:

        1. The physical or mental injury of a child by parent, other individual who has permanent or temporary care or custody or responsibility for supervision of a child, or by
           
a household or family member under circumstances that indicate that the child's health or welfare is harmed or at substantial risk of being harmed, or

        2. Sexual abuse of a child, whether physical injuries are sustained or not.

 

        Sexual Abuse:

        Any act or acts involving sexual molestation or exploitation including, but not limited to, contact or conduct with a child for the purpose of sexual gratification, and
        
may range from exposure, voyeurism, sexual advances, kissing, fondling to sexual crime in any degree, rape, sodomy, prostitution, or allowing, permitting,
        encouraging, or engaging in the obscene or pornographic display, photographing, filming or depiction of a child as prohibited by law by the parent, other individual
        who has permanent or temporary care or custody or responsibility for supervision of a child, or by a household or family member.

        Neglect:

        The failure to give proper care and attention, including the leaving of a child unattended by parents, or other individual who has permanent or temporary care or
        custody or responsibility for supervision of a child under circumstances that indicate that the child's health or welfare is harmed or at substantial risk of harm.

        Examples of Neglect:

        A neglected child is one who is:

        1. left unattended or inadequately supervised for long periods of time. Violations of the Unattended Children's Law are: any child left alone under the age of 8 years,
           any child from ages 8 years to 12 years left alone without support such as telephone numbers, instruction on personal safety and emergency procedures; any
           child left alone for long hours or overnight or given responsibilities beyond his/her capability or if there is some special risk such as in the case of a physical or
           mental disability.

        2. showing signs of failure to thrive, or psycho-social dwarfism that has not been explained by a medical condition. There may be other evidence that the child is
            receiving insufficient food or foods that are toxic to health or medical condition.

        3. receiving inadequate medical or dental treatment.

        4. significantly harmed or at risk as a result of being denied an adequate education due to parental action or inaction.

        5. wearing inadequate or weather-inappropriate clothing.

        6. significantly harmed due to lack of minimal health care and/or unsafe conditions in the home.

        7. ignored or badgered by the caretaker.

        8. forced to engage in criminal behavior at the direction of the caretaker.

           9. poor hygiene to the point that it is causing health problems.

    Mental Injury:

    The observable, identifiable, and substantial impairment of a child's mental or psychological ability to function caused by an act of parent, caretaker, household or family
    member; or a failure to provide proper care and attention by a parent or caretaker under circumstances that indicate that the child's health or welfare is harmed or at
    substantial risk of harm.

    Examples of Mental Injury:

    1. implied or overt threats of death or serious injury of the child or others.

    2. implied or overt threats in the form of pet/animal torture.

    3. constant denigration

     4. extensive emotional or physical isolation or confinement.

    Possible Abuser:

    Any parent, guardian, adoptive parent or other individual who has permanent or temporary care or custody or responsibility for the supervision of a child, or any
    household or family member, may be considered an abuser under the statute. Educators and other school employees having temporary care or custody or
    responsibility for the supervision of a child during the school day may also be deemed abusers under the statute and, when suspected of child physical or sexual
    abuse or neglect or mental injury must be reported immediately to the local social services agency or the appropriate law enforcement agency, orally and in writing as
    prescribed by law, by the person who has reason to believe that abuse or neglect has occurred. This must be done in accordance with Garrett County Board of
    Education Procedure 474.231.

    Sanctions for Failure to Report

    On recommendation of the county superintendent, the county board may suspend or dismiss a teacher, principal, supervisor, assistant superintendent or other
    professional assistant for misconduct in office, including knowingly failing to report suspected child abuse in violation of Family Law Article, Title 5, Subtitle 7 (Child
    Abuse/Neglect), Annotated Code of Maryland.

    Upon the recommendation of a local Public Schools, or the Assistant State Superintendent in Certification and Accreditation when the individual is not employed
    by a local Public Schools in Maryland, any certificate issued under the State Public Schools's regulations may be suspended or revoked by the State
    Superintendent if the certificate holder is convicted of a crime involving child abuse or neglect or is dismissed by a local board for knowingly failing to report suspected
    child abuse in violation of the Family Law Article.

    Any non-professional employee who has reason to believe or believes that a child has been abused or neglected and has not reported the situation, will be treated as
    would any non-professional employee who did not perform his/her job satisfactorily.

Sources: MD Civil Child Abuse & Neglect Law Articles 5-701 through 5-715


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Pupil Services 474.23 WWM
Adopted 7/14/88
Revised 3/8/90, 2/9/99