Vermont teacher discipline: Blind spots hinder accountability

Aug 29, 2018 by

Nicole Higgins DeSmet –

Gaps in communication among state agencies responsible for child welfare continue to hinder accountability, despite changes to state law in recent years aimed to improve information sharing following a series of tragic deaths.

“Historically, all changes appear to occur after sad, headline-grabbing stories of abuse or when determined advocates press for change,” states a 2013 Villanova Law Review article, written after the conviction of Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky for 45 counts of sexual abuse.

The law review rated Vermont’s system of mandated reporting as one of the least comprehensive.

Vermont passed a child protection bill in 2015 after two toddlers died in state care and a teenager in Milton committed suicide after a team hazing ritual. The bill clarified the mandatory reporter statute and increased the penalty for failing to report.

The law also built on existing communication agreements among law enforcement, the Department for Children and Families, and the then-Department of Education that began after a teacher in 2009 was convicted of sexually abusing two Morrisville students.

Source: Vermont teacher discipline: Blind spots hinder accountability

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