LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A Southland lawmaker has introduced a bill that would require teachers and other school staffers to undergo training on how to identify suspected cases of child abuse.

KNX 1070’s Margaret Carrero reports Assemblyman Mike Gatto wants the California Department of Education to provide guidelines for educators on how  — and when — to alert authorities.

Under existing state law, a parent or guardian of a minor can face criminal charges for failing to provide clothing, food, shelter, or medical care “without lawful excuse.” Existing law also makes it a crime for a parent or guardian to desert a child under 14 years of age with the intent to abandon that child.

Assembly Bill 1432 (PDF) would require teachers and other school officials to pass an online course on how to identify and properly report abuse before the start of each school year.

Recent reports showed that certain abuse was prolonged because large numbers of school personnel were unaware of the processes and their responsibilities for reporting abuse, according to Gatto.

“We can’t allow unfamiliarity with the signs of abuse and the proper way to report it to serve as excuse for permitting child abusers to continue working in our schools,” said Gatto. “AB 1432 is a common-sense approach to the problem, since every year, education professionals will be reminded of their duties.”

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The legislation comes after several reports of alleged abuse cases at Miramonte Elementary and other schools in the Los Angeles Unified School District since 2012.

One Southland father of two said the legislation is a step forward for educators and students alike.

“Just to remind them of the dangers of child abuse and the signs can be subtle,” he said. “So I think it’s probably a good idea that they do something.”


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