Las Vegas Sun

September 21, 2017

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CCSD hastens teachers’ reporting of child abuse suspicions

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Roderick "RJ" Arrington

The Clark County School Board unanimously adopted new regulations Thursday that require teachers and staff to report suspected child abuse cases “as soon as possible” to authorities.

Currently, school employees who know or suspect child abuse and neglect are mandated by state law to report the case to child welfare agencies and law enforcement agencies within 24 hours.

Now, employees must report suspected cases of child abuse and neglect immediately and no later than 24 hours.

Employees must call the child abuse and neglect hotline and notify their school principal, counselor and nurse. They must also report the case to CCSD Police in cases of physical or sexual abuse, sex trafficking or if the child’s life is in immediate danger.

The revised policies also forbid employees from notifying parents or guardians about the child abuse report, so as not to tip them off to an investigation and endanger the child. Any employee who makes a child abuse or neglect report “in good faith” is immune from civil or criminal liability, but could face misdemeanor charges if they fail to report under Nevada law.

The new regulations come after a 7-year-old schoolboy was allegedly beaten to death by his parents for failing to read the Bible and do his homework in 2012. Roderick “RJ” Arrington, a second-grader at Roundy Elementary School, was hospitalized with severe bruising and massive brain swelling on Nov. 29, 2012. He died the next day.

The day before Arrington wound up in the hospital, a Roundy teacher reported the suspected abuse to Child Protective Services. However, officials were “in the process” of investigating the case when Arrington died.

The highly publicized case spurred changes in how Clark County Department of Family Services and the School District handles child abuse cases and educates employees about how to protect students.

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