As mandated reporters, educators and other school staff must remain aware and educated on the topic of child abuse. School personnel represent the largest professional resource for reporting suspected child abuse and neglect in Texas. Education leaders can promote awareness of Texas laws, by developing effective reporting policies, programs and employee training to promote the safety of all Texas students.
1) Texas Education Code (TEC) §38.004 relates to information and training for public school educators in the prevention of child abuse.
- The agency shall maintain on the agency website a list of links to websites that provide information regarding the prevention of child abuse; and develop and periodically update a training program on prevention of child abuse that a school district may use for staff development.
- Each school district shall provide child abuse antivictimization programs in elementary and secondary schools.
2) TEC §38.0041 requires school districts and open-enrollment charter schools to:
- Develop Policy: Adopt and implement a policy addressing sexual abuse and other maltreatment of children, to be included in the district improvement plan and any informational handbook provided to students and parents. To see model policies visit TASB - Freedom from Abuse, Discrimination, and Bullying for more information.
- Provide Training: Requires ALL district and open-enrollment charter school employees participate in a training to increase awareness about prevention techniques and recognition of sexual abuse and other forms of child maltreatment. Each school district and open-enrollment charter school must also maintain records that include the name of each district or charter school staff member who participates in the training.
- Training Schedule: Training must be taken by all school employees in the 2014-15 school year according to the training schedule adopted in TAC §61.1051 and as a part of all new employee orientation in the future. A mandatory training schedule has been adopted by Commissioner Rule in the Texas Administrative Code (TAC) §61.1051. Training must be provided on or by the following dates:
- September 30, 2014, for all K-5th teachers, campus principals, and bus drivers;
- December 31, 2014, for all remaining teachers, campus principals, and bus drivers; and
- May 31, 2015, for all remaining school staff
- Training Components: Necessary training components identified by TEC § 38.0041 include:
- factors indicating a child is at risk for sexual abuse or other maltreatment;
- likely warning signs indicating a child may be a victim of sexual abuse or other maltreatment;
- internal procedures for seeking assistance for a child who is at risk for sexual abuse or other maltreatment, including referral to a school counselor, a social worker, or another mental health professional;
- techniques for reducing a child’s risk of sexual abuse or other maltreatment; and
- community organizations that have relevant existing research-based programs that are able to provide training or other education for school district or open-enrollment charter school staff members, students, and parents.
- Maintain Records: Districts and open enrollment charters schools are required to maintain records that include the name of each district or charter school staff member who participated in the training.
3) TEC §38.0042 Requires schools to post Child Abuse Hotline Information:
- Poster: All school campuses are required to post in at least one high-traffic area, in both English and Spanish, a poster, at student eye-level, with information that includes the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) Abuse hotline telephone number, instructions to call 911 and directions to the www.txabusehotline.org. A poster developed to meet the requirements can be found at: www.onewithcourage.org/take-action/for-educators/
Reporting - Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) Resources:
Detailed information on the responsibilities and the process for reporting suspected child abuse and neglect is accessible on the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) website. Resources include tools and information specifically designed for school personnel.
- Children’s Advocacy Centers (CACs) are non-profits that serve as the first stop for children who have experienced sexual abuse, severe physical abuse, or witnessed a violent crime. CAC’s are available to support Texas schools with implementation of required trainings. Local centers can provide more information on training opportunities and child abuse reporting information that may be available within your community. To search for the local center that serves your school, visit: www.cactx.org
- Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center Online Training Center
- Darkness to Light - "Stewards of Children" takes a compassionate, engaging approach to child sexual abuse prevention using a combination of survivor stories, expert advice, and practical guidance. Stewards of Children is approved by Texas Education Agency for CPE credits. A certificate of completion is available after finishing the training. The training offers ease of use for districts through online and facilitator-led training options, along with the ability to track, monitor, and maintain records of training participants. To learn more on how to get started visit: www.D2L.org/TXEd
- DFPS provides an online training "Reporting Suspected Abuse or Neglect of a Child" that includes video tutorials on mandatory reporting in the school setting. This web-based training tool and video module can be used to train school staff on how to make and file a report. A certificate of completion is available immediately after completing training
- DFPS has regions throughout Texas. Please contact the DFPS Regional Education Specialists in your region for more information on child abuse training for school staff.
- The Texas Health & Human Services Commission, Center for the Elimination of Disproportional and Disparities has developed "A Guide for Mandatory Reporters - Achieving equity for Texas most vulnerable citizens" and an online training is available. A certificate of completion is immediately available after completing the training.
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July 21, 2014
Texas Education Agency staff and State Board of Education members will interview 10 Generation 19 charter applicants Monday through Wednesday. The meeting begins at 9:15 a.m. Monday and 9:30 a.m. Tuesday and Wednesday. A schedule of interviews is available online. Please note that one applicant, Rocketship, has withdrawn. The meetings will be live streamed.
July 18, 2014
The Texas Education Agency (TEA) has launched a
federal grant flexibility initiative aimed at
providing increased flexibility to grantees, including school districts,
charter schools, education service centers, colleges and universities and
non-profit entities that receive certain federal education grants administered
July 14, 2014
Commissioner of Education
Michael Williams today announced his appointments to a seven-member board of
managers for the Beaumont Independent School District (BISD). The board of
managers will be responsible for overseeing the management of the BISD,
including oversight of the district’s efforts to address and correct identified
deficiencies and to implement effective, structural and procedural improvement
strategies for long-term, positive change.
June 24, 2014
Texas Education Agency has advised all school districts and charters of the
summer deadlines to submit locally-assigned performance ratings. Under House Bill 5 passed last year by the 83rd Texas
Legislature, all districts are required to evaluate the district’s performance
and the performance of each campus in regard to community and student