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Teach4uga 05-08-2013 01:33 PM

Made My First Report to DSS
I've never had to make a report to DSS before and I couldn't be more scared than ever after having done so. I have a student who has been through so many traumatic experiences this year. This student's parent comes to the school a lot because she is taking a GED class and yesterday she came and was walking through the school with sunglasses on and wouldn't even acknowledge her child in the hallway who was publically misbehaving even with her being right there to see. He told me that his mom got mad at him for not fixing his collar the way she asked him to and that she slapped him in the face. He also said that his mom and dad got in a domestic disturbance and that he saw her bleeding. I spoke with the guidance counselor and she told me that she thought all the information that we know about this child and this family that it would be a good idea to report it to DSS and have them decide whether they will take the case or not. Well I called and they just called me to tell me that they decided to take the case and will be at the school tomorrow to speak with the child. What I'm scared about is that I think his mom will be at the school because she will have class. What makes me nervous is that she will put two and two together and think it was me that made the report. I saw mom this morning and I didn't see any bruises on her face so now I think that we jumped the gun in making the decision to report. I know that there is so much that this child has endured and he has serious anger issues towards others and I know that I've met with both the parents and they have had the smell of drugs on them, but I don't know if what I did was right and I'm really scared now. Thoughts?

whatever 05-08-2013 03:03 PM

take a deep breathe and relax
It is your job to report any suspicions of child abuse. It is DSS' job to investigate and find out whether the allegations are true or not.

You have done your part. And, don't forget, even if the report comes back as "unfounded" or unsubstantiated, it does not mean it did not happen. It just means they could not prove anything.

And another thing, they will not verify who reported them so even if mom says "I KNOW it was you..." She does not. She is guessing and hoping you will give yourself away.

Teddi9192 05-08-2013 04:15 PM

If in doubt report. You did the right thing.

Fenwick 05-08-2013 05:50 PM

Not sure what state you are teaching but in CA teachers can be held accountable if they DON'T report suspected abuse. In addition, a teacher can't be sued or held liable if the suspected abuse is unfounded. Child abuse does not have to be physical. A teacher can refer a child to CPS for suspected mental abuse and/or neglect. Do not be afraid or apologize to any parent for being a teacher.

----- 05-12-2013 01:39 PM

"Ma'am, I'm sorry you feel frustrated. When DSS talks to us it's a confidential process, so legally I'm not allowed to share anything they told me." Just keep repeating that DSS has a confidential process, and do NOT confirm that you are the caller. Do NOT apologize to the parent or defend your actions, and refer to the principal if necessary, even if that means walking out on a raging parent in the middle of the conversation.

It is your job to report if you don't think a child is safe. You did your job. No guilt, no apology. You give them the info you have, they keep the ball rolling.

We have an emotionally difficult job sometimes. I'm sorry you're feeling so stressed. I'm even sorrier for the poor little guy who is in that environment.

Mrs. Bee 07-23-2013 06:15 PM

My best friend...
accidentally threw a hairbrush at her daughter and snagged her in her eye. The school filed and it was investigated. My friend was mad and embarrassed but I reminded her that in this day and age, our kids need advocates.

And then years ago, my goofy daughter, who was in high school at the time, was playing around teasing me like she was going to jab at me...and due to physics, I grabbed her hand at the right moment and sent it back at her and, "POP". She laughed and the next morning, there was a big ole' shiner. So when I got to school (I work in the same district we live) I told our secretary what had happened and if I got a call, well, I'd need to talk to them. Later that evening, my daughter told me her guidance office had talked to her, and she'd told them what had happened. But I'm glad they did talk to her.

Sometimes I wish parents realized how much our "little windows" pick up on and that because they feel secure with us, we hear and have to decipher so much in order to make sure they're protected. I applaud you for acting on it. It can be scary to do the right thing. Isn't that what we tell our little ones?

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