The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

The Danville News

June 18, 2014

Danville faculty trained on child abuse

DANVILLE — A three-hour training session aims to make all Danville school district staff able to identify signs of child abuse.

The training lasted from noon to 3 p.m., June 17, at the Danville Middle School. Reporting protocol, including the signs and symptoms of abuse, were included in the demonstration as well as a booklet that district staff could take home with them.

The training was hosted by district intervention specialists Mike Maize and Jesse Reibson.

Everyone in the district was asked to attend, Reibson said, and the middle school auditorium was filled with faculty members.

Three more trainings will be held this summer for any faculty unable to attend Tuesday.

While Danville does not have a child abuse problem, awareness of it is on the rise since the Jerry Sandusky trial, according to Superintendent Cheryl Latorre. “Everybody needs to be on notice,” she said.

Starting in January of 2013, state law requires all school district personnel be trained every five years to identify abuse through “mandated reporter training.”

“This is the state saying any adult who comes into contact with children in a school setting will be trained,” Maize said. This includes custodians, bus drivers, maintenance staff as well as teachers, all of whom fall under the category of mandated abuse reporters.

“Its important to recognize that anyone who is required to be a mandated reporter deserves to be completely informed of what that role is,” Maize said. Before the new mandated reporter training requirements in 2013, Maize had not known of a single place where a person could find out what being a mandated reporter entailed. “Before that, the role of mandated reporter would have been open to anybody’s interpretation,” he said.

The change was seamless for Danville, Reibson said, as the district was already implementing certain improvements such as routing all abuse calls through Child Line, a clearinghouse for reports of child abuse.

Changes in child abuse reporting laws are scheduled to take effect at the end of 2014. Their purpose is to expand the definition of an abuser, which will allow district employees to be more comprehensive in reporting child abuse to the state.

“They’re goal is to have thorough and complete reporting,” said Maize. In his opinion, the state has been tightening up its method of reporting abuse ever since the Jerry Sandusky child abuse allegations came to light.

“Even without Sandusky, it’s appropriate. Its good practice and keeps kids safe,” Maize added.

“We need to not have any questions about it,” Reibson said. “There should be no hesitation on anyone’s part.”

Email comments to rstoneback@thedanvillenews.com.

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