TNDCS explains mandatory reporting laws and training
Channel 3 looked into what mandatory reporting is and the training Grundy County teachers get.
Grundy County Sheriff Clint Shrum tells Channel 3 he's heard unconfirmed reports that people in the school system may have been aware of prior incidents that were not reported to law enforcement.
He said that's why the Director of Schools was served a subpoena last week, requiring her to hand over records of reported abuse over the past 5 years.
This comes after five football players were charged with attempting to rape a teammate.
If abuse did go unreported that would likely be a violation of mandatory reporting laws.
"If you suspect a child is a victim of abuse or neglect than you need to let the right folks know," urged Rob Johnson with the Tennessee Department of Children Services.
It's called mandatory reporting, it's a Tennessee law that requires adults to let officials know when they think a child is being abused.
Johnson said training is crucial for anyone who works with minors.
"They need to understand how to look for signs of abuse,” explained Johnson, “They need to understand most importantly what it takes to report to the department."
Director of Schools, Jessie Kinsey said teachers in Grundy County take a one hour class taught by someone in the district once a year.
"Be they a neighbor, a family member, a teacher, TV news reporter," Johnson said, “Everybody in the state is a mandatory reporter."
Since everybody is considered a mandatory reporter there are resources to help you. Training is available through the Department of Children Services online for free.
The training only takes about 45 minutes, and discusses how to detect and report abuse or neglect.
"It lays out the law,” Johnson explained, “It lays out frequently asked questions."
There is also a section discussing to a teacher’s responsibility to report abuse.
Johnson said the training is crucial to make sure kids are safe.
"The sooner you can get help to that child, the better it is," urged Johnson.
A person can be charged with a misdemeanor for knowing about abuse and not reporting.
To access the free online training, click here.