Assemblyman Mike Gatto’s (D-Burbank) bill to strengthen training requirements and prevent child abuse in schools was signed into law by Governor Brown. The legislation would require all school employees to be trained according to standards developed by the Department of Education in the proper identification and reporting of child abuse, so that abuse can be stopped in its tracks.
Gatto’s AB 1432 addresses the lack of training on how to recognize and report child abuse in K-12 settings. The California Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act requires certain professionals, known as mandated reporters, to report to law enforcement or protective services known or suspected instances of neglect, or physical, sexual, or emotional abuse. Despite these requirements, current law does not require school districts to train personnel on detecting and reporting child abuse, nor does it inform them of their responsibilities or that failure to report is a misdemeanor punishable by jail time.
Gatto’s legislation addresses this problem by requiring school employees to complete reporting training. The Assemblyman has been working closely with child advocates and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, after recent reports showed that several cases of abuse were prolonged because school personnel were unaware of their duty to report.
“Crimes that occur in schools should not be treated any differently than those that occur elsewhere in our community, unless it is to treat them with even greater care and concern,” said Assemblyman Gatto. “California law needs to make sure that school administrators at all levels of education report these most serious crimes and empower our law-enforcement experts to investigate.”