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Gallivan, Jacobs & Ranzenhofer: Senate passes bill to protect students from sexual abuse

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Wed, May 9th 2018 12:55 pm
The New York State Senate has passed legislation (S.7372B) to expand the types of educational settings required to report child abuse and increases the professions required to receive training to identify and report abuse. The bill is co-sponsored by Sens. Patrick Gallivan (R-C-I-Elma) Chris Jacobs (R-C-I-60th District) and Michael H. Ranzenhofer (R-C-I-Amherst).
Under current education law, private schools are not included in requirements to report child abuse in an educational setting, potentially putting students attending private schools at a greater risk. This new bill requires allegations of abuse at private schools, as well as charter schools, state-supported and state-operated schools, special act school districts, and boards of cooperative educational services (BOCES), be reported directly to law enforcement.
It also expands the responsibility for reporting abuse allegations to include therapists, speech-language pathologists, teacher aides, school resource officers and any employee who contracts with a school to provide transportation to children. The legislation further amends education law to require all teachers and administrators employed by a private or charter school complete two hours of training regarding the identification and reporting of child abuse.
Gallivan said, "As a state, we have an obligation to protect all children from abuse. Teachers, school employees and others in positions of power who abuse students must be held accountable, regardless of the educational setting. No school - public, private or charter - should be exempt from the requirement that allegations and instances of abuse be reported to the proper authorities."
Jacobs said, "We need to protect our children while in school, no matter the age, no matter public or private, and we need to make it law that the adults charged with caring for our children must report allegations of abuse to the proper authorities."
Ranzenhofer said, "This loophole in state education law must be closed. No school should be excluded from child abuse reporting requirements. I am pleased that the legislation is advancing with passage today in the State Senate, and I am hopeful that the State Assembly will follow our lead."
The Assembly passed the bill in March.

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