The Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools Board of Education unanimously approved the first draft of an expanded child abuse reporting policy on Nov. 21.
Janet Cherry, director of System of Care, said the updated policy would require public school employees to report any suspected child abuse regardless of the perpetrator’s relationship to the child. Before, the district employees were only required to report suspected child abuse perpetrated by a child’s parent or guardian figure.
The policy will also change how employees report suspected abuse. Though district employees will still be able to report suspected child abuse to county social services, the new policy will require them to also report to the Division of Child Development and Early Education of the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.
Consequences for failing to report could include discipline within the school system or, under certain circumstances, placement on the N.C. Child Maltreatment Registry.
This policy discussion follows a lawsuit filed against CHCCS in May that accused the school district of failing to prevent sexual abuse within schools.