Mandated Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect
Massachusetts General Law Chapter 51A is designed to protect children from abuse and neglect. This law designates public school employees as mandated reporters and outlines the duties of mandated reporters who have reason to believe that a child may be suffering abuse or neglect. Specifically this law states:
A mandated reporter who, in his professional capacity, has reasonable cause to believe that a child is suffering physical or emotional injury resulting from: (i) abuse inflicted upon him which causes harm or substantial risk of harm to the child's health or welfare, including sexual abuse; (ii) neglect, including malnutrition; (iii) physical dependence upon an addictive drug at birth, shall immediately communicate with the department orally and, within 48 hours, shall file a written report with the department detailing the suspected abuse or neglect; or (iv) being a sexually exploited child; or (v) being a human trafficking victim as defined by section 20M of chapter 233.
Dedham Public Schools employees are obligated under the law to immediately report any situation in which they have reason to believe a child is being abused or neglected.