(WBRE/WYOU-TV) Almost a quarter of a million students in Pennsylvania attend schools that have outdated or missing policies dealing with suspected child abuse. The State’s Auditor General calling those schools out and calling for them to take action. Harrisburg Reporter Matt Heckel reports.
244-thousand students in the state attend schools that lack updated policies on reporting child abuse. And one in our area doesn’t have a policy at all.
Before 2014, School personnel were only required to report abuse or neglect concerns to a supervisor. Now, the public school code requires them to first call ChildLine, The state’s child abuse hotline to report any concerns.
“So, it’s a big shift to say the first place you go is outside the institution, then you tell inside,” Said Cathleen Palm, Founder of Center of Children’s Justice.
Since 2014, About 79 percent of school districts have updated their policies to reflect this change leaving 21 percent who had not.
“That is 106 districts. More than one-fifth of the state’s total. And where more than 244,000 children attend school” Said State Auditor General Eugene DePasquale.
Those districts include Harrisburg city, Lampeter Strasburg, and West Perry. While the Auditor General points out that there is no evidence of any children being harmed the lack of updated policies still need to be addressed.
“It is as if they have not learned a single thing from the Jerry Sandusky debacle” Added DePasquale.
But one district had no policy whatsoever, Susquenita School District in Perry County. They are now working with the school board’s association to adopt a policy.
“That is, at least, some semblance of good news, but still kind of amazing that it took this long” Noted DePasquale.