Officials: Teachers Failed Girl By Failing To Report
June 1, 2006
PONTIAC, MICHIGAN--Police charged two Pontiac middle school teachers Wednesday of knowingly failing to report suspected abuse or neglect of a child -- a misdemeanor that could mean 93 days in jail.
The charges stem from May 2005 when a 12-year-old girl with learning disabilities reportedly told permanent substitute teacher Lisa Powe that her mother's boyfriend had been touching her inappropriately.
Instead of reporting this immediately to state child welfare officials -- as required under mandatory reporting law -- Powe allegedly told her supervisor, head of special education Carol Fleming. After the girl repeated her allegations to Fleming, the special education also decided not to report to state officials, but notified the girl's mother, who took the girl home. There, the boyfriend repeatedly raped the girl over the next nine months.
"What happened here created a risk of harm for the child. She did everything right and they let her down," Oakland County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Deborah Carley told the Detroit News.
State officials said that even though teachers are trained every year in their obligations under the mandatory reporting law, many refuse to follow it, saying they do not want to get involved in long court cases, or are not sure whether the children's reports have merit.
"Teachers accused of ignoring sex abuse" (Detroit News)