For years, people were able to turn a blind eye to many cases of child abuse. They made all sorts of excuses: teasing and fighting are normal with kids; parents have a right to discipline their own children; schools need to be able to use any method that works to maintain order.
Even in obvious cases of abuse, some would convince themselves that it wasn’t really a problem, or that it was none of their business, or that someone in authority would do something about the problem.
Failure to Report and False Reports Punishable
Fortunately, that attitude is a thing of the past. In Michigan, anyone who witnesses or suspects an act of abuse is encouraged to report it. For those in certain professions—healthcare, law enforcement, and education, for example—reporting isn’t optional, it’s required.
Under the law, failure to report is a misdemeanor that can lead to a fine and up to three months in jail. Michigan’s statute takes this kind of offense seriously and treats the filing of a false report of abuse as a felony (a provision that’s rarely needed but has been enforced).
A Significant Problem
There are an estimated 700,000 cases of child abuse each year, and some fraction of those cases happen in schools. It’s possible for any of the four common types of abuse—physical, sexual, emotional, and neglect—to happen to a child while he or she is in the care of another.
The perpetrator might be another student, a teacher, or someone else who works at or visits the school—even another parent. Most school staff take their responsibility for the safety of those in their care seriously and would never harm a child, but as in any other type of situation, there will be those who don’t, and even those who are dangerous.
Many Forms of School Abuse
Abuse at school can show up in many different ways, and they’re not all as apparent as physical violence. Federal law bars discrimination of any kind based on race, gender, and other factors. All students are meant to receive the same opportunities, including those with disabilities.
But this kind of discrimination and mistreatment still goes on. If any of these things happen to a student while at school, it might constitute the basis for legal action against the educational institution that caused this mistreatment or allowed it to continue.
Detroit School Abuse Lawyer
If a child in your care has been the victim of abuse, it’s important to report it. In Michigan, that’s as easy as making one phone call. An investigation may lead to criminal charges against the abuser, but whether it does or doesn’t, that’s not your only recourse for justice. Those who abuse children, and those who enable that abuse, need to be held accountable. A lawsuit in civil court is usually your best option for making that happen.
Christensen Law is a Detroit personal injury firm with experience helping the victims of school abuse get not only the justice they deserve, but also the compensation they need to help put their lives back on track. We offer a free, no-obligation consultation to every client to discuss his or her case. Give us a call today at 248-213-4900 or contact us online through the form below to arrange yours.