Date of Award

Spring 1981

Document Type

Thesis

Department

Sociology & Anthropology

First Advisor

Margaret Stuart

Second Advisor

Henry Burgess

Third Advisor

Robert Piccalo

Abstract

The protection of an abused child's safety involves identification, investigation and intervention. The responsibility of teachers and school personnel is to report suspected child abuse. Responsibility for investigation to develop definitive diagnoses and to provide treatment has been specifically assigned by law to other professionals. Teachers and other school personnel can be helpful in combatting child abuse because they have daily contact with most school children. Educators have the opportunity to identify children suspected of being abused before serious damage is done. In many ways, educators can be the primary combatants in the fight against child abuse. We have reached a time in our society when no social issue is a problem for only one institution or group. Issues now transcend institutional, ethnic, soci-economic and governmental boundaries. Educators traditionally looked on child abuse as a problem for the medical profession, the courts, so social welfare agencies. Such a perspective must not continue. Both common sense and morality make it clear that child abuse is also a school problem. People in education must acknowledge the natural relationship among education, health care and family services. A teacher must not only be responsible for a child's intellectual development, but also for the child's social, emotional and physical well-being. In order to improve the quality of services for our nation's children, federal and state health and social welfre agencies also must coordinate their efforts and cooperate with local school districts. In the schools, all educational personnel must become involved. I vigorously urge all teachers and school personnel to work in their own communities not only to enhance awareness concerning child abuse, but also to develop organizations and strategies for resolution of the problem. We shall probably never completely eradicate child abuse, but I feel that we can curb it through the efforts of teachers throughout the nation, who will be responsible enough to a assist children in peril. It is my strongest hope that educators will make a difference for the future of all children by providing them with an education characterized by equality, dignity, and concern.

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