If you have a reasonable suspicion that a student has been abused,
maltreated or neglected, you are required by law to file a report with
the State Central Register personally by calling 1-800-635-1522. Your
job is to report the suspicion, not to investigate it. All reports made
to the State Central Register should include the name, title and
contact information for every staff person in the school who is
believed to have direct knowledge of the allegations contained in the
report. Afterward, you must immediately notify the principal or the
principal's designee and provide the Caller I.D. number provided by the
State Central Register. If your suspicion of abuse involves a special
education student, you should inform the principal and Central Register
of the child’s handicapping condition.
If you suspect child abuse and fail to report it, you may be subject to
disciplinary action by the DOE, as well as be civilly or even
criminally liable for any injury to the child. At the same time, if you
report and you are wrong, you will be protected from any adverse
disciplinary or legal action.
As part of state certification requirements, you must take a two-hour
course in child abuse recognition and reporting procedures. The UFT
regularly offers this low-cost course, which is listed in the New York
Teacher educational supplement that’s mailed to your home in August,
January and June. You can also find the listings online at
www.ufttc.org — click on Conferences.