Required Parochial School Reporting of Suspected Child Abuse Clarified By New York

Failed Messiah reports that New York State last week updated its guidelines for Mandated Reporters of  Child Abuse and Neglect as they apply to non-public schools. (Full text of April 9 revisions.) The revisions make it clear that parochial school staff is not to delay reporting in order to ask permission of the person in charge of the school, even if that person is a member of the clergy. The changes are apparently in response to suggestions by some Orthodox rabbis that teachers, social workers and other professionals who are mandated by state law to promptly report suspected cases of sexual abuse should first consult a rabbi. (See prior posting.) The New York reporting requirements apply to suspected abuse of children by their parents or guardians, or by workers in day care programs or residential facilities. It generally does not apply to abuse inflicted on a child on non-public school property by another school employee.In a related development, in Villarin v Rabbi Haskel Lookstein School, (NY App. Div., April 12, 2012), a New York appellate court in a 2-1 decision held that a school nurse in a Jewish school has a cause of action under the state's Whistleblower Law (Labor Law Sec. 740) when she was fired because she reported a father's injury of his son to New York's State Child Abuse and Maltreatment Register. JTA reports on the decision.