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New NY Law Requires Private Schools To Report Abuse

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Recent legislation signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo will require New York private schools to change the way they report child abuse allegations, as well as requiring those employed by private schools to undergo specific training to identify victims of child abuse, particularly sexual abuse.

Law To Hold Private Schools To Public Standards

This law will hold private schools within the state of New York to the same standards on reporting sexual abuse as public schools. Similar measures were enacted nearly 20 years ago for public schools, that have since required all school officials to report suspected sexual abuse of a child. This law comes after a series of allegations across several state private schools; reports suggest that several school administrators were aware of the abuse and did not properly report it at the time.

Not All Schools In Support

At the same time as this legislation is being passed, many private Catholic school administrators are planning to boycott a recently enacted review system within the state for private schools. This review process would entail public school officials observing and reviewing private schools to ensure the quality of education being provided by, largely, religious institutions is a “substantially equivalent” education to public schools.

Many private school officials are objecting to the new review measures, calling the comparison unfair to private education. However, it remains to be seen how this boycott will intersect with the passing of this new reporting legislation; whether the objections are a reflection of a larger problem within private schools is difficult to say.

Legislation To Affect New York Students

With the number of private students across the state and the nation as a whole, this legislation is likely to affect large percentages of New York state students. Private schools account for 25% of the nation’s schools and enroll 10 percent of all PK-12 students. With this new legislation, many students in private schools will be better protected from abuse in the future, allowing for the increased safety of students everywhere.