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The Principal's Role in Child Abuse

The Principal's Role in Child Abuse


THE PRINCIPAL'S ROLE IN CHILD ABUSE GREG McCLARE Toronto Board of Education In many American states and Canadian provinces, persons categorized as professionals or as having authority over children have been charged with a special responsibility for reporting suspected case of child abuse (Herbert, 1985; Fairorth, 1982). This obligation, which is mandated by child welfare legislation, applies to physicians, nurses, dentists, psychologists, social work- ers, clergy, nursery school attendants, teachers, and principals. If such per- sons have reasonable grounds to suspect that a child is or has been the victim of abuse, they are required to report their suspicions to the child welfare authorities. Although a universal duty for reporting suspected cases of abuse is imposed on all citizens, in the case of professionals, non-compliance with the legislation can, upon conviction, result in substantial fines and even imprisonment. Because of this extraordinary responsibility, it is important that school principals, with their school boards, develop policies to insure that this expectation is both communicated to and implemented by their faculty members. To carry out this injunction effectively, principals must undertake several leadership tasks that focus on developing: child-abuse reporting procedures; educational and training programs; and community linkage mechanisms. CHILD-ABUSE
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