Iowans Frustrated By Enduring Oddity In Student Abuse Reporting


Iowa law does not require school districts to report student abuse when it happens from their own teachers – even though licensed school employees are considered mandatory reporters of abuse, reports the Des Moines Register. The way districts handle abuse cases stems from an opinion by Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller’s office regarding the state’s mandatory reporting law. In 1979, Brent Appel, then an assistant attorney general and now an Iowa Supreme Court justice, said the law pertains to abuse by people responsible for the care of children. That does not include teachers, he wrote.

The decision and lack of subsequent action by lawmakers made Iowa the only state to keep parents or others from reporting child abuse by teachers to the Iowa Department of Human Services, said Kathy Collins, a retired lawyer with the Iowa Department of Education. Parents can, however, report alleged abuse by teachers to police. If parents contact the Department of Human Services regarding teacher abuse, the agency refers them to police, a department spokesman said. “Many made it known to their legislators that they were not happy,” Collins said. “The teacher is obligated to file a complaint against (the parent), but the shoe doesn’t fit the other foot.”

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