Private schools will be required to report all child sexual abuse allegations directly to law enforcement under new legislation recently signed by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Previously it was mandatory only for public schools located outside New York City to report incidents of abuse to law enforcement. They also had to inform the Department of Education officials and the child’s parents.
The new law eliminates “a significant gap in protection” for around 1.5 million students, including those who attend charter schools, schools supported and operated by the state, boards of cooperative educational services and public schools in New York City.
The bill also expands the responsibilities of reporting abuse allegations to teacher aides, resource officers, speech pathologists, therapists and other school employees who come directly in contact with students. In addition, contracted school bus drivers are required to report allegations to their supervisors.
All employees must undergo compulsory training to learn how to recognize the behavioral and psychical signs of abuse and how to correctly report it. Failure to report abuse can result in a class A misdemeanor for public school administrators and employees that carries up to a $500 fine and the potential loss of their professional certification.