Duty to Report
All district employees who have knowledge or reasonable cause to believe that a child has suffered abuse or neglect are mandatory reporters under the law. Employees shall report such incident(s) to the appropriate school administrator who shall cause a report to be made to Child Protective Services (CPS), a division within the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS), and to the proper Law Enforcement agency. Failure to report such incidents may be considered a criminal misdemeanor under Washington State law.
Reporting Procedures and Requirements for Certificated and Classified Staff:
- Certificated employees having reasonable cause to believe that a child has suffered abuse or neglect shall immediately report such suspected abuse or neglect to their school administrator. Together they shall cause a report to be made to CPS and the proper law enforcement agency.
- Classified school employees having reasonable cause to believe that a child has suffered abuse or neglect shall immediately report such abuse or neglect to the appropriate school administrator. If the school administrator has reasonable cause to believe that a child suffered abuse or neglect, he/she will cause a report to be made to CPS and the proper law enforcement agency.
- Following the verbal report to CPS and the proper law enforcement agency, the school administrator must complete the official Lake Washington School District Child Abuse and Neglect Report form and, within 5 business days, file a copy with the district in accordance with this policy. The building administrator shall retain a copy and forward a copy to the appropriate Director of School Support. The Directors of School Support will be responsible for securely retaining the Lake Washington School District Child Abuse and Neglect Reports.
- An employee is not relieved from making a direct report to CPS and the proper law enforcement agency if the employee believes his/her report has not been appropriately acted upon by the school administrator. An employee making a direct report to CPS and the proper law enforcement agency in that circumstance shall, without delaying the report, concurrently advise the school administrator and make a written report to the Director of School Support.
When to report:
All employees are required to report suspected abuse or neglect to the appropriate school administrator immediately and no later than 48 hours. The school administrator must cause a verbal report to be made to CPS and the proper law enforcement agency immediately and no later than 48 hours after the employee had reason to believe a child has suffered abuse or neglect.
Employees are not required to verify that a child has been a victim of abuse or neglect. Any conditions or information that cause the employee to believe a child suffered abuse or neglect should be reported. Legal authorities (CPS and proper law enforcement agencies) have the responsibility for investigating each case and taking such action as is appropriate under the circumstances.
“Employees” include, but are not limited to, certificated, classifieds, substitute, and contractually employed individuals of Lake Washington School District.
"Professional school personnel" include, but are not limited to, teachers, counselors, administrators, secretaries, coaches, instructional assistants, para educators, school bus drivers, custodians, Speech and Language Pathologists, Occupational/Physical Therapists, social workers, child care facility personnel, and school nurses. For purposes of this policy the term “employee” shall include all professional school personnel.
“Reasonable cause” means a person witnesses or receives a credible written or oral report alleging abuse, including sexual contact, or neglect of a child.
“Child abuse or neglect” means the injury, sexual abuse, or sexual exploitation of a child by any person under circumstances which indicate that the child's health, welfare, or safety is harmed, or the negligent treatment or maltreatment of a child by a person responsible for or providing care to the child. An abused child is a child who has been subjected to child abuse or neglect as defined in this section.
“Physical abuse” means the non-accidental infliction of physical injury or physical mistreatment on a child. Physical abuse includes, but is not limited to, such actions as:
- Throwing, kicking, burning, or cutting a child;
- Striking a child with a closed fist;
- Shaking a child under age three;
- Interfering with a child's breathing;
- Threatening a child with a deadly weapon;
- Doing any other act that is likely to cause and which does cause bodily harm greater than transient pain or minor temporary marks or which is injurious to the child's health, welfare or safety.
“Physical discipline of a child, including the reasonable use of corporal punishment”, is not considered abuse when it is reasonable and moderate and is inflicted by a parent or guardian for the purposes of restraining or correcting the child. The age, size, and condition of the child, and the location of any inflicted injury shall be considered in determining whether the bodily harm is reasonable or moderate. Other factors may include the developmental level of the child and the nature of the child's misconduct. A parent's belief that it is necessary to punish a child does not justify or permit the use of excessive, immoderate or unreasonable force against the child.
“Sexual abuse” means committing or allowing to be committed any sexual offense against a child as defined in the criminal code. The intentional touching, either directly or through the clothing, of the sexual or other intimate parts of a child or allowing, permitting, compelling, encouraging, aiding, or otherwise causing a child to engage in touching the sexual or other intimate parts of another for the purpose of gratifying the sexual desire of the person touching the child, the child, or a third party. A parent or guardian of a child, a person authorized by the parent or guardian to provide childcare for the child, or a person providing medically recognized services for the child, may touch a child in the sexual or other intimate parts for the purposes of providing hygiene, child care, and medical treatment or diagnosis.
“Sexual exploitation” includes, but is not limited to, such actions as allowing, permitting, compelling, encouraging, aiding, or otherwise causing a child to engage in:
- Sexually explicit, obscene or pornographic activity to be photographed, filmed, or electronically reproduced or transmitted; or
- Sexually explicit, obscene or pornographic activity as part of a live performance, or for the benefit or sexual gratification of another person.
“Negligent treatment or maltreatment” means an act or a failure to act, or the cumulative effects of a pattern of conduct, behavior, or inaction, on the part of a child's parent, legal custodian, guardian, or caregiver that shows a serious disregard of the consequences to the child of such magnitude that it creates a clear and present danger to the child's health, welfare, or safety. A child does not have to suffer actual damage or physical or emotional harm to be in circumstances which create a clear and present danger to the child's health, welfare, or safety. Negligent treatment or maltreatment includes, but is not limited, to:
- Failure to provide adequate food, shelter, clothing, supervision, or health care necessary for a child's health, welfare, or safety. Poverty and/or homelessness do not constitute negligent treatment or maltreatment in and of themselves;
- Actions, failures to act, or omissions that result in injury to or which create a substantial risk of injury to the physical, emotional, and/or cognitive development of a child; or
The cumulative effects of a pattern of conduct, behavior or inaction by a parent or guardian in providing for the physical, emotional and developmental needs of a child's, or the effects of chronic failure on the part of a parent or guardian to perform basic parental functions, obligations, and duties, when the result is to cause injury or create a substantial risk of injury to the physical, emotional, and/or cognitive development of a child
RCW 26.44.020, Child abuse and neglect: Definitions
WAC 388-15-009, Child abuse and neglect: Definitions
RCW 26.44.030, Child abuse and neglect: Duty to Report
RCW 28A.320.160, Physical abuse or sexual misconduct by a school employee:
RCW 28A.400.317, Physical abuse or sexual misconduct by a school employee:
RCW 42.56, Public Records Act