“All persons who are mandated reporters are required, by law, to report all known or suspected cases of child abuse or neglect. It is not the job of the mandated reporter to determine whether the allegations are valid. If child abuse or neglect is reasonably suspected or if a pupil shares information with a mandated reporter leading him/her to believe abuse or neglect has taken place, the report must be made. No supervisor or administrator can impede or inhibit a report or subject the reporting person to any sanction.” – California Department of Education
Mandated reporters are individuals who are required by law to report known or suspected child maltreatment. They are primarily people who have contact with children through their employment. Mandated reporters must only have reasonable suspicion that a child has been mistreated; no evidence or proof is required prior to making a report. The case will be further investigated by law enforcement and/or child welfare services.
It is against the law to delay, interfere with, or impede a report to law enforcement. Delayed reporting while awaiting further information may hinder investigation by the appropriate agencies.
It is highly discouraged for a school to conduct a simultaneous investigation because law enforcement is specially trained to investigate these types of allegations. It can also interfere with a police investigation and jeopardize a criminal proceeding. For example, having witnesses interviewed by third parties can create confusion of issues and inconsistent statements, which could benefit defense and jeopardize the criminal case.
Presentation High School has repeatedly failed in their legal obligation to report allegations of child abuse to law enforcement.
Legally mandated reporters can be criminally liable for failing to report suspected abuse or neglect. The penalty for this misdemeanor is up to six months in jail and/or up to a $1,000 fine.