Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Importance of Teachers in the Lives of Their Students

In addition to my duties at Hopkins Middle School, I also am adjunct faculty at a local university. This year I needed to spice up my lessons on recognizing child abuse in our students. As you know, teachers are mandated reporters of suspected child abuse. We are required by law to notify Child Protective Services the moment we think a student may be experiencing abuse or neglect.

I wanted to bring an actual protective services worker into class. So I interviewed my niece and videoed it for presentation later. She has been in the field for several years and has a real heart for kids.

I learned so much from talking with her. But one statement really stuck with me. She said,

"Teachers are our best ways to help protect kids. Their students spend more time with them during the school year than some do with their parents. Our referral numbers are way down in the summer."

She went on to explain that child abuse doesn't slow down in the summer but the teachers who interact with their students daily are no longer making calls about suspected abuse or neglect.

Teachers-you may be the lifeline for one of your students this year. You may be the only adult who is recognizing the signs of abuse.

If you have any questions, this handout, Mandated Reporters Resource Guide will answer the questions of what to look in children who may be abused.

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