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New York - First On VIN: Without Fanfare, NYS Clarifies Child Abuse Reporting Regulations; Requires Yeshivas To Report

Published on: April 12, 2012 12:22 PM
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New York - In order to clarify existing regulations requiring all staff members in New York state non-public schools to report suspected incidents of child abuse to the authorities, the New York State Education Department has updated its web page  to eliminate any possible ambiguities.

Section 413(1)(b) of the Social Services Law obligates all school officials in any non-public school in New York who has have reasonable cause to suspect an incidence of child abuse to immediately inform the Statewide Central Register of Child Abuse and Maltreatment.  This report to the state child protection authorities must take place prior to notifying any member of the school or clergy.

“This isn’t a new law,” Elliot Pasik, president of the Jewish Board of Advocates for Children  told VIN News.  “The State Education Department is announcing a law that already exists, in order to eliminate any possible confusion and misunderstandings.  State law mandates that you don’t call your boss, your rabbi or your pope if you suspect something.  This is something that cannot be delegated to anyone else.  If you have reasonable cause to suspect abuse, you call the child abuse hotline first and only then do you inform your rabbi or school officials.”

According to section 413, the obligation to report suspected abuse falls on any non public school in New York, including religious schools.  School officials who fall into the category of “mandated reporter”, someone who, by law, is obligated to report suspected abuse, include teachers, guidance counselors, social workers, school nurses, administrators or any other staff member who is required to hold a teaching or administrative license or certificate.

Teachers of religious subjects are not exempt from this law.
Rabbi Perry Schafler, Vice President of the Jewish Board of Advocates for Children, has been working with the State Education Department and State Office of Child and Family Services to clarify this law since November and the State Education Department revised its webpage this past Monday in order to avoid any further ambiguity.

“Unfortunately, there were people in our community who were trying to distort the law, saying it meant something that was never intended,” explained Pasik.  “We are talking about the safety of our children and this new page spells out the issue so that there can be no misunderstandings.”

Meanwhile, To further enhance the safety of school children, Assemblyman Dov Hikind introduced a bill two months ago requiring fingerprinting and background checks for all religious and non-public school employees.  While New York is among forty two states that requires fingerprinting and background checks for public school employees, non public schools are exempt from this law and only nineteen out of nineteen hundred non public schools in New York fingerprint their employees.  Of those nineteen, the only Jewish school to do so is North Shore Hebrew Academy in Great Neck.

“There is no question that fingerprinting is of vital importance and why it hasn’t been done a long time, I have no idea,” said Hikind.  “I think we have come a long way on this issue and we are trying to find a way to pay for it so that the financial onus of this important initiative doesn’t fall upon our yeshivos, which are already financially overburdened.”


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Read Comments (24)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Apr 12, 2012 at 02:15 PM Geulah Says:

NYC public school employees have undergone fingerprinting and background checks since I can remember. That has not stopped this school year from being the worst in public school history for acts unbecoming between school children and public school employees. That will give the naysaysers hope, hope not. While fingerprinting and background checks can't predict behavior after hiring it can dissuade miscreants from applying in the first place. Being caught lying about your background is grounds for dismissal in many businesses and schools are a business too. Fingerprinting subjects inter-state miscreants to exposure and those who do committ acts in one state won't be able to freely move about. Protecting our kids is protecting our community. It's about time this was clarified.

2

 Apr 12, 2012 at 01:47 PM THE VOICE OF JUSTICE Says:

The law is not new the voice of justice and the coalition oj jewish advocates have been in discussion with seniors members of state govt and are beginning an all out public information campaign to ensure all yeshivas are notified of this law thanks to all of us Dr lipner Mark appel Rbbi blau who lobbied hard for this decision.

in addition there are fedarel penalties for post high schools and kollels as well for failture to report
for more info you can call the coalition at 1 800 621 8551

3

 Apr 12, 2012 at 02:04 PM Anonymous Says:

It is about time this was clarrified Let us see if the law is followed in the
ultra religious community

4

 Apr 12, 2012 at 02:36 PM Vasserman Says:

Mazel tov. Hopefully there will be very stiff penalties for non compliance.

5

 Apr 12, 2012 at 02:38 PM Anonymous Says:

Sadly, its not until several rabbonim from yeshivos and mosdos are sitting in Rikers Island or one of several upstate "resorts" managed by the NYS penal system, that the fear of violating these rules will have been communicated effectively among those involved in chinuch. The fear of being in prison for an extended period is the only deterrent since they obviously believe its OK with the Ebeshter to indulge their perversions.

6

 Apr 12, 2012 at 02:58 PM fradakp Says:

Let us hope that our teachers and Rebbes will not have to fear losing their jobs if they first report the suspected abuse and then inform their principals and Roshei Yeshivas.There are sometimes consequences for doing the right thing.

7

 Apr 12, 2012 at 03:17 PM jacksax Says:

Reply to #3  
Anonymous Says:

It is about time this was clarrified Let us see if the law is followed in the
ultra religious community

As someone who has dealt with the with the so called "child protecters " I can tell you from first hand experiences its not so simple. While we have to make every effort to protect our children when we suspect abuse . Reporting it without doing extensive research (yes that includes principals as well) can do alot more harm to the child or children then good.

8

 Apr 12, 2012 at 05:30 PM shredready Says:

Reply to #6  
fradakp Says:

Let us hope that our teachers and Rebbes will not have to fear losing their jobs if they first report the suspected abuse and then inform their principals and Roshei Yeshivas.There are sometimes consequences for doing the right thing.

if that happens maybe they can sue and even get the Roshei Yeshiva arrested.

interesing they can scream moser but when they get affected or maybe imprsoned i am sure the same people will come up with a heter

9

 Apr 12, 2012 at 05:45 PM JackC Says:

Reply to #7  
jacksax Says:

As someone who has dealt with the with the so called "child protecters " I can tell you from first hand experiences its not so simple. While we have to make every effort to protect our children when we suspect abuse . Reporting it without doing extensive research (yes that includes principals as well) can do alot more harm to the child or children then good.

However, the State does indeed mandate that it reported BEFORE any internal research or other reporting. If people want to fudge this requirement, then they will get burnt. They have made a "bright line" rule because of the nonreporting of the past.

10

 Apr 12, 2012 at 05:47 PM Anonymous Says:

How does this affect a parent whose child says he was abused by a teacher,principal.or rebbe?

11

 Apr 13, 2012 at 01:15 PM AnonN Says:

Reply to #6  
fradakp Says:

Let us hope that our teachers and Rebbes will not have to fear losing their jobs if they first report the suspected abuse and then inform their principals and Roshei Yeshivas.There are sometimes consequences for doing the right thing.

I think you missed the point. They SHOULD fear losing their jobs if they dont go straight to the police. The point in the law is to prevent coverups by school administrators.

12

 Apr 14, 2012 at 11:04 PM SF2K1 Says:

Reply to #7  
jacksax Says:

As someone who has dealt with the with the so called "child protecters " I can tell you from first hand experiences its not so simple. While we have to make every effort to protect our children when we suspect abuse . Reporting it without doing extensive research (yes that includes principals as well) can do alot more harm to the child or children then good.

If you are not the authorities, it's not your business to do any of the research and have no ability to protect the child anymore than whomever failed to do so in the first place. This is why the law was written, because every vigilante thinks they are doing more good than harm.

13

 Apr 15, 2012 at 12:17 AM jacksax Says:

Reply to #12  
SF2K1 Says:

If you are not the authorities, it's not your business to do any of the research and have no ability to protect the child anymore than whomever failed to do so in the first place. This is why the law was written, because every vigilante thinks they are doing more good than harm.

Did it ever dawn on you there may be a valid reason for the lack of reporting besides that people want to watch their back ? The system is corrupt and messed up . I assume from your comment you have never dealt with them .

14

 Apr 15, 2012 at 01:49 AM concerned_Jew Says:

the teacher should be able to report to the principal and and the principal report to the police. the principals who don't are delinquent in their jobs.

15

 Apr 15, 2012 at 07:57 AM qazxc Says:

Reply to #13  
jacksax Says:

Did it ever dawn on you there may be a valid reason for the lack of reporting besides that people want to watch their back ? The system is corrupt and messed up . I assume from your comment you have never dealt with them .

It has many faults and many of the people running it are looking out only for themselves but it is unfair to write that the yeshiva system is corrupt and messed up. Not every part of every yeshiva is so bad.

16

 Apr 15, 2012 at 11:21 AM coalitioncalany Says:

Shame on every dayan and rav who tells a woman to make more kugel for her husband and remain silent about what he does to his kids. Who do we report THEM to?

17

 Apr 15, 2012 at 11:45 AM I'm on your side Says:

Reply to #16  
coalitioncalany Says:

Shame on every dayan and rav who tells a woman to make more kugel for her husband and remain silent about what he does to his kids. Who do we report THEM to?

Report them to the police. In addition to violating the mandated reporting law, there's endangering the welfare of a child. And there are conspiracy laws.

18

 Apr 15, 2012 at 12:42 PM SF2K1 Says:

Reply to #13  
jacksax Says:

Did it ever dawn on you there may be a valid reason for the lack of reporting besides that people want to watch their back ? The system is corrupt and messed up . I assume from your comment you have never dealt with them .

Please name the "valid reason." An abuser needs to be put away and out of society, not left to roam around. If abuse is going on, you have no power to stop it. If abuse happened in the past, the person still requires punishment for the transgression and the child involved requires professional counselling.

19

 Apr 15, 2012 at 01:23 PM jacksax Says:

Reply to #15  
qazxc Says:

It has many faults and many of the people running it are looking out only for themselves but it is unfair to write that the yeshiva system is corrupt and messed up. Not every part of every yeshiva is so bad.

Im sorry if you misunderstood my comment . I was talking about the social services . Not the yeshivas ( although their may be some holes there too) to all those people commenting that dont have a clue about the system do some research from people who truly did want to help without having substantial proof that there was abbuse taking place . You may be very surprised as to what you will hear .

20

 Apr 15, 2012 at 01:33 PM jacksax Says:

Reply to #18  
SF2K1 Says:

Please name the "valid reason." An abuser needs to be put away and out of society, not left to roam around. If abuse is going on, you have no power to stop it. If abuse happened in the past, the person still requires punishment for the transgression and the child involved requires professional counselling.

No ones denying that an abuser shouldnt be let to " roam the streets " . Were talking about the method of reporting without doing everything that you can to determine the accuracy of your assessment . And the action social services will take after that . To explain it in simple terms this type of reporting is "shoot first ask questions later"

21

 Apr 15, 2012 at 04:17 PM qazxc Says:

Reply to #19  
jacksax Says:

Im sorry if you misunderstood my comment . I was talking about the social services . Not the yeshivas ( although their may be some holes there too) to all those people commenting that dont have a clue about the system do some research from people who truly did want to help without having substantial proof that there was abbuse taking place . You may be very surprised as to what you will hear .

There may be some holes in the yeshiva system of (not) handling abuse allegations?

Swiss cheese has less holes. I could drive a Frieghtliner thru the holes in the yeshiva systems of ignoring abuse.

22

 Apr 15, 2012 at 10:57 PM Anon Ibid Opcit Says:

This is good and decades overdue. The only things that remain to be seen are if the charedim will bother obeying the Law and if the District Attorney will have the spine and honesty to go after the child molesters and their protectors.

23

 Apr 16, 2012 at 09:56 AM Anon Ibid Opcit Says:

Reply to #7  
jacksax Says:

As someone who has dealt with the with the so called "child protecters " I can tell you from first hand experiences its not so simple. While we have to make every effort to protect our children when we suspect abuse . Reporting it without doing extensive research (yes that includes principals as well) can do alot more harm to the child or children then good.

Police are equipped to investigate crimes. Courts are equipped to decide whether crimes have occurred. All you are doing is continuing the same corrupt system. You want evidence compromised, witnesses interfered with and justice corrupted to protect the reputation of "the community". That's how it's always worked, and that's why we need these new laws.

Rabbis are not detectives. Bes Din are not real Courts. And the blood of innocent children is on your hands for saying otherwise.

24

 Apr 16, 2012 at 04:34 PM SF2K1 Says:

Reply to #20  
jacksax Says:

No ones denying that an abuser shouldnt be let to " roam the streets " . Were talking about the method of reporting without doing everything that you can to determine the accuracy of your assessment . And the action social services will take after that . To explain it in simple terms this type of reporting is "shoot first ask questions later"

That's exactly it. Those investigations are neither your job nor are you qualified to do so. That's exactly what the police are there for and exactly why it's a crime not to report such activities. It is not as if reporting means anyone accused is automatically locked up and punished without trial by jury and a full investigation by the state. Reporting isn't shooting first and asking questions later, it's getting the only people who can ask questions to do so in a matter most batei din won't acknowledge even exists. Taking the time to handle criminal matters out of the courts is just allowing the abuse to continue and preventing the professionals from investigating the matter before it may be too late.

25

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