Those who interact professionally with minors have both a legal and professional obligation to report alleged abuse or neglect. Teachers, principals, social workers, psychologists, doctors, police officers and first responders among others, must contact the appropriate authorities when they suspect or have proof a child is being abused or neglected.
Two Texas elementary school officials, could face fines of up to $4,000 and up to a year behind bars for not contacting their local Child Protective Services. Crockett Elementary School Principals Cindy Sue Underwood and Kory Francher Dorman were arrested after failing to contact the proper authorities to report sexual abuse allegations. The two could face jail time and fines for not reporting not one but two incidences which occurred last year.
In October, three 6-year-olds used a school iPad to take sexually explicit photos of themselves in the classroom. Their homeroom teacher found the pictures which were taken on October 3rd. The teacher reported the images to Underwood on October 25th.
School principals are required by the Texas Family Code to report any instances of sexual abuse to Child Protective Services, (CPS). After being notified about the incident, Underwood directly sent the students home and told their parents. One of whom informed CPS. Underwood was questioned by detectives. An investigator from CPS told detectives by not reporting the incident; the children were being put at risk.
The investigator claimed when children imitate sexual acts; the assumption is made they have learned so through experience. Therefore leading to the conclusion, they may be experiencing abuse while at home.
What’s more startling and disconcerting about these school officials is this incident in October wasn’t the only time allegations of sexual abuse were made and presented to the principals.
Three grandparents of a 7-year-old student went to Kory Francher Dorman with allegations their grandson had been sexually assaulted by a 6-year-old student while in a school bathroom. The incident was reported on December 15th. However, Dorman told investigators she was made aware of it on January 2nd. Again, this episode wasn’t reported to CPS as required by the Texas Family Code.
Dorman didn’t handle the matter; she delegated it to the school’s counselor. On January 25th, she gave the excuse that she didn’t have the adequate training to handle the situation. Referring again to the Texas Family code, instances of alleged abuse must be reported by the proper school officials and not handed off to another employee.
Both women have been placed on administrative leave by the school district after posting a $1,000 bond. They could face more charges; failing to contact CPS in both instances is classified as a class A misdemeanor.
Why were these two officials employed in their positions as school principals if they weren’t aware of the law and legal ramifications if they didn’t follow the rules? What about all these children? Their situations need to be thoroughly investigated. There might not be abuse present, but by not letting the right authorities handle the matter, the principals subjected these children to danger.