Article Title

Child Abuse Law and School Policy

Journal Title/Source

Education and Urban Society

Publication Date




Issue (if applicable)


Page Numbers


Document Type

Journal Article


Sociology and Anthropology


The school role in the mandatory reporting of child abuse & neglect & the expansion of state & federal legislation addressing child protection are discussed. Educators experience difficulty in complying with legislation that is often complicated, ill-defined, & lacking in guidelines. Given the ambiguities of the law, cases involving less obvious evidence may never receive scrutiny, but because legal vagueness does not justify the school's lack of child protection policies, educators can be liable for failure to protect children. Despite mandated reporting, few states require teacher training in child abuse & neglect because of limited resources, excessive professional demands, & lack of legal specificity. Many schools have implemented a coordinated team approach that enhances child protection efforts & minimizes the chance for error in assessing abuse & neglect; however, school liability for abusive behavior among staff members is not well articulated, inviting continued debate over the use of corporal punishment.