A bill championed by APSAC-NY and the New York Society on the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NYSPCC) just passed the New York Senate and will be sent to the governor's desk for signature. The bill provides comprehensive reform the Article 23-B of the Education Law, which requires child abuse in an educational setting to be reported.
The bill expands the of definitions of "child," "employee," "volunteer," "educational setting," and"administrator" within Article 23-B of the Education Law to include all public schools, including charter schools; private schools, including approved private 853 schools, state supported and state operated schools; Special Act School Districts; boards of cooperative educational services (BOCES); and any person or entity that contracts with a public school, private school, Special Act School District or BOCES to provide transportation services.
The bill also amends section 1126 of the Education Law to expand the responsibility to complete a report when child abuse allegations are made to include licensed and registered physical therapists, licensed and registered occupational therapists, licensed and registered speech-language pathologists, teacher aides and school resource officers. Any employee of a person or entity which contracts with a school district, charter school, private school or BOCES to provide transportation to children would have to file or cause to file a report if they have reason to suspect abuse.
APSAC-NY began advocating for the passage of this bill after recent allegations of child abuse at private schools caused renewed interest in the laws protecting children from such abuse. Currently,private schools are not included in Article 23-B, leaving a serious void in the effort to protect vulnerable children from abuse. It has been reported that accused teachers are often quietly forced to resign or transfer rather than the allegations being officially reported. This act would require that allegations of abuse at private schools be reported,and would protect New York's children who attend private schools.
To read the full text off the amended bill, click here.