How the TN mandatory reporter law applies to educators and coach - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

How the TN mandatory reporter law applies to educators and coaches

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OOLTEWAH, TN (WRCB) -

The Hamilton County District Attorney's office says the three faculty members charged knew about the sexual and physical assault of four freshman players, knew they should report it,  and did not.

Channel 3 is taking a closer look at the mandatory reporting law and who is required to speak up.

The Department of Child Services is now joining the investigation into the sexual assault of four Ooltewah freshman basketball players.

READ MORE: UPDATE: Ooltewah coaches, asst. principal charged for not reporting assault of 4 players
    
DCS won't say when they were notified, or who called them, citing confidentiality laws.

"The department is not allowed to say who has called, so if somebody asks me who makes a call, we can't say," said Rob Johnson, Director of Communications at DCS.

The Hamilton County District Attorney's office says it wasn't anyone from Ooltewah High School, or the Board of Education who made the call.
    
Athletic Director Jesse Nayadley, basketball Coach Andre Montgomery, and Assistant Coach Karl Williams are charged with failure to report child abuse.

Johnson calls the mandatory child abuse reporting law, the three were bound by, "very straightforward."

"Everyone in Tennessee is a mandated reporter, teachers, doctors, psychiatrists," Johnson said.

Anyone who works, lives, or spends time with children is responsible by law to report suspected abuse.
    
The Dean of Education at UTC says students preparing to be teachers learn that rule on the first day of class.

"And so that's the very first course they're ever in before they ever go out into a school and have the opportunity to be in a classroom and observe what's going on," said Dr. Valerie Rutledge, Dean of Education.

Educators and coaches are taught that the report should be filed immediately.
    
It can be filed anonymously online through the DCS website, or by phone through a DCS tipline, or by calling police.

"Regardless of what their setting looks like, you report it for whatever setting you find yourself in to ensure that you're following those proper procedures," Dr. Rutledge said.

Superintendent Rick Smith told Channel 3 last week the hospital staff called police.

After news of the charges broke, Smith said he wasn't aware that his staff didn't report the assault.

READ MORE: Ooltewah Assault

"I hesitate to believe they didn't know what to do," Smith said, "I think they did know what to do. I think they just failed to follow protocol."

The three faculty members charged have been suspended without pay and summoned to court next Thursday to answer to the charges.

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