Unfortunately, the number of Indiana teachers and other school employees accused of child abuse is on the rise. All allegations of child abuse are serious, so it's important for teachers and others to protect themselves and reduce their risk. An educator's reputation is one of her most cherished possessions. To guard yours, consider these cautions:
- Never leave your classroom unattended.
- Never be alone with a student.
- Don't meet with students behind closed doors.
- Make sure all students understand your classroom rules, especially those related to safety.
- Make sure that students are adequately supervised when out of the classroom or on field trips.
- Never transport students in your personal vehicle.
- Never allow students to place themselves in personal danger.
- Never act in anger and always follow the school board's policy when dealing with student discipline. Never kick students or their desks.
- If you MUST physically restrain a student in a disciplinary situation, use only reasonable force.
- A hug or pat on the back may be fine for primary-aged children, but always refrain from touches that may be misinterpreted by older students.
- Know your district's policy on corporal punishment. Many physical abuse charges stem from corporal punishment.
Association Membership and Your Rights
A major benefit of Association membership is legal representation if child abuse charges are ever filed against you. NEVER give any statement to anyone if requested. Call your UniServ Director immediately and ask for legal assistance. You have the right to legal representation in any interview conducted by CPS, the police or a prosecutor's office. Before you agree to give an interview, explain that you must be given the opportunity to have a representative present.