To me, E3 involves having awareness of the signs for abuse and knowing the proper steps for reporting the suspected abuse. It is especially important to be able to recognize all the warning signs for suspected abuse that a child or parent will exhibit. Furthermore, it is vital for teachers to know and take the appropriate measures when reporting. One way I would exemplify an understanding of professional responsibilities and policies is through being knowledgeable of the signs for abuse, district policies on abuse, and the steps for reporting abuse. Figure 1 shows a list of signs that may indicate the presence of child abuse. This document was studied and tested upon as a requirement for EDU 6942: September Experience.
Important information is shown throughout the document that will better prepare me as a teacher to recognize the signs and symptoms for child abuse. In addition, this document gives information pertaining to reporting child abuse and the expected information which the teacher is required to report. Being aware of the warning signs of abuse as well as the steps that are required in reporting will help ensure that a safe learning environment is being established. Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (2010) states that “the purpose of mandated reporting is to identify suspected abuse and neglected children as soon as possible so they can be protected from further harm” (p. 8). It is my responsibility as an educator to understand the professional policies of child abuse and to be responsible for keeping children safe not only at school but also at home. Additionally, by law as teachers we are required to report suspected child abuse (Washington State Department of Social and Health Services, 2010). As a teacher, I must become conscious of student behavior and performance in addition to physical signs; and I must take into account how the child acts around his peers, adults, and their parents. To ensure the safety of all children, the next step would be to appropriately respond to an abused child. Remaining calm, finding a private place to talk without interruptions, and reassuring the child can help alleviate any stress within the situation. Whenever in doubt, it is better to make any concerns known than remaining silent. Communicating with the school nurse or principle as a resource for further assistance would be beneficial.
Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (2010). Protecting the abused and neglected child: a guide for recognizing and reporting child abuse and neglect. (DSHS Publication No. DSHS 22-163).