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As teachers we are mandated reporters. The first step is to be aware of child abuse, whether it is sexual, physical or emotional. Some warning signs include; unexplained marks or burns, drastic changes in behavior, fearfulness and innapropriate sexual knowledge and/or behavior.
As mandated reporters, we are responsible for reporting any suspected abuse. Reporting is not optional, it is mandatory. A phone call needs to be made immediately to child protective services or to local law enforcement. Simpply report your observations and facts, but leave the investigation to child protective services. Confidentiality is imperative.
No matter the degree of harm towards the child, abuse is still abuse and needs to be reported. Early intervention may prevent continued and/or worsening behavior. Reporting any suspicions at the first sign of abuse can save a child's life!
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