Recognizing and Reporting Abuse and Neglect
By: David De Jong
“As a school leader, you must know the signs of child abuse and neglect, and know how to act sensitively, accurately, and legally toward all parties involved. When accusations are made, you need to act promptly and appropriately, as well. This simulation gives you practice recognizing and responding in a variety of situations, and also provides you with an application tool for assessing and mitigating risk.”
My name is Dr. David De Jong, and I serve as an Assistant Professor at the University of South Dakota. I have facilitated this new simulation in a face-to-face format and in a fully online format. I am thrilled with the initial results of this simulation.
One superintendent wrote, “As a current superintendent/elementary principal, I have dealt with this issue more than I had hoped or thought I would. I found myself being too hesitant in my decisions; especially in regard to the football coach who was accused and finally charged with abuse. I would have had to investigate this more, but in the meantime, he did the damage to the players. I would have felt terrible.”
A building principal shared, “Understanding the warning signs and utilizing these simulations to support my current work ensures that I am more prepared to support students and families as I continue through my career. This simulation focused on abuse and neglect within the school setting, by school employees. This is an area I have never had to work through. Therefore, this was definitely a learning experience for me. I am also wondering what resources my current district has to ensure teachers feel safe coming to administrators at all levels when it comes to concerns about their colleagues.”
Yet another superintendent explained, “In my current role as superintendent, I have a duty to ensure my staff know how to recognize and report abuse and neglect. As I watched the simulation, I recognized a need to increase training in this area.”
As you can see, I highly recommend the “Recognizing and Reporting Abuse and Neglect” simulation as it is helping principals and superintendents reflect on one of the most important aspects of their jobs, which is to ensure the safety of those they lead.