Tips for Teachers

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

School is back in session, and although they may never admit it, it’s an exciting time for many children. School is also an opportunity for teachers to reconnect with students, and provide not just a learning experience, but also a safe environment. Below, we have listed some “tips for teachers” with regard to some issues that may arise during the school year. The list is certainly not all inclusive, so references can be found on the bottom so that you may get further information if needed.


1. Remember, every person in Indiana is considered a mandated reporter. The law reads that ANYONE who had reason to believe that a child is a victim of child abuse or neglect, must make a report. Anonymous reports are accepted. Those who work with children will in all likelihood be held to an even higher standard.

2. Even if you have reported to a “designated” reporter (the school nurse, Social Worker, Principal, etc), it does NOT relieve you from your responsibility. You still remain responsible for the report…either by making the report yourself, or by insuring the report was made.

3. Look for potential signs, such as unexplained bruising, especially on more “fleshy” areas of the body, such as thighs, arms, face. Not all signs are visible, however, so you should also watch for behavioral signs as well, such as increased absenteeism, not being able (on a consistent basis) to stay awake in class, withdrawn behavior, changes in play, exaggerated startle responses, overly aggressive or sexualized behaviors. Remember that behavior changes in and of themselves do not necessarily mean a child is being maltreated, but the behaviors should be explored in case there are other issues, such as being bullied, physical problems, or learning issues.

4. Parents need to know that their children are safe at school as well. Every year children are injured in playground incidents. Schools need to insure that equipment is safe, and that children are properly supervised. They also need to insure that “hidden locations” are reduced so that there is less likelihood that a child could be abused or harmed in one of these locations. Trees and shrubbery should be trimmed. Playground equipment should not include toys where children are hidden from view at any time. Clear out concrete walls or other impediments to supervision. Look for gaps in fences or other protective barriers. Insure that anyone who is monitoring during recess is well trained in supervision, how to intervene in physical fights, and how to recognize and address bullying.

We hope everyone has a wonderful year, and remember teachers, to also practice self-care and stress management!

References: Committee for Children
Department of Child Services
Prevent Child Abuse Indiana

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