On Board Online • April 26, 2010
By Pilar Sokol
Deputy General Counsel
In a ruling involving a school board member who heard an allegation of an improper contact between a district employee and a student, the commissioner of education urged a school district to make sure it provides In Board of Education for the City School District of the City of Elmira, the commissioner denied a request to remove the board member from office, but he advised her to comply strictly with mandatory reporting requirements in the future.
As a result of this decision, all school boards should review their training program on mandatory reporting requirements applicable to incidents of alleged child abuse in an educational setting and implement the program on an ongoing basis. Like other school mandatory reporters, board members should receive training on reporting compliance procedures.
The case arose after a school board member received third-hand information last fall that a school district employee allegedly had inappropriate contact with a student. She shared the information with another board member who notified the superintendent. The superintendent, in turn, commenced an investigation and contacted police.
The commissioner ruled the board failed to establish the board member’s actions warranted her removal.
Nonetheless, the commissioner “strongly” reminded the board member of the obligation of school board members to comply with the child abuse in an educational setting reporting requirements, and the “importance of strictly abiding” with those requirements in the future. The commissioner also urged the school board to make sure it provides training on such requirements on an ongoing basis.
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