Child Abuse MOU

                      

                     Below is the text of the Memorandum of Understanding signed by

                     FEA and DoDDS in November, 1999, on the issue of child abuse

                     reporting and allegations.

 

                         MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING BETWEEN

                      THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE EDUCATION ACTIVITY AND

                            THE FEDERAL EDUCATION ASSOCIATION

 

                     The Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) and the

                     Federal Education Association (FEA), in its capacity as bargaining agent

                     for its bargaining unit within the Department of Defense Dependents

                     Schools (DoDDS), enter into this Memorandum of Understanding

                     (MOU) for the purpose of adopting appropriate arrangements and

                     supplementary procedures to implement DoDEA Regulation 2050.9 "The

                     Family Advocacy Program Process and Procedures for Reporting

                     Incidents of Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect", dated 27 January

                     1998.

 

                     1. The parties recognize that the Regulation refers to the duties and

                     responsibilities of bargaining unit employees in their professional

                     activities. The Regulation is not intended to diminish or enlarge any rights,

                     privileges, immunities or obligation otherwise provided for by federal,

                     state or host nation laws.

 

                     2. The parties acknowledge, that pursuant to the requirements of the

                     "Victims of Child Abuse Act of 1990", 42 U.S.C. 13031, the installation

                     Family Advocacy Program (FAP) is the focal point for reporting and

                     referring suspected or alleged incidents of child abuse or neglect. An

                     employee who learns of facts that give reasons to suspect that a child

                     has suffered an incident of child abuse, shall as soon as possible (but in

                     all cases not later than the end of the duty day) report the matter to the

                     FAP and the school principal or designee. When contacting FAP officials

                     to make a report an employee may request assistance from other school

                     personnel in facilitating the employee's obligation to contact FAP

                     officials.

                     In the absence of sufficient information to reasonably suspect that an

                     incident of child abuse has taken place, the employee may refer the

                     matter to the school nurse, guidance personnel or school administrator for

                     appropriate action, if necessary.

 

                     3. When an employee has been accused of institutional child abuse or

                     neglect, the parties acknowledge that the school principal retains

                     discretion to determine what measures should be taken to protect both

                     the alleged child abuse victim or victims, as well as the rights of the

                     accused, including, but not limited to: placing the accused educator on

                     administrative leave or removing the child from the accused educator’s

                     class.

 

                     4. Concerning allegations of institutional child abuse or neglect, the

                     applicable rights of the accused employee shall, in all cases, be observed.

                     These include:

 

                     a. The right to be notified of the allegations made against the employee,

                     normally within one working day of the initial report of the allegation,

                     unless the FAP, DoDEA or appropriate law enforcement agency

                     determines that to do so would compromise its investigation or the safety

                     of children. Referral to the FAP and to the school principal pursuant to

                     DoDEA Regulation 2050.9, is not intended to alter or eliminate the

                     traditional role of school principals or other management officials in

                     providing appropriate feedback to employees affected by any alleged

                     incidents of child abuse or neglect.

 

                     b. The right to have union representation during any investigative

                     interview by persons acting on behalf of the Agency, to include any

                     military investigative personnel, and upon the employee’s request, the

                     right to have a union representative present during any investigative

                     interview if the employee reasonably believes disciplinary action may

                     result.

 

                     c. When interviewed by persons outside of the school, the employee has

                     the right to have the interview conducted away from the school site,

                     unless the interviewer determines that presence at the school site is a

                     material aspect of the interview. In such cases the interview will take

                     place during the times when school is not in session, where possible.

 

                     d. Where an allegation of child abuse is unsubstantiated, the employee

                     has the right to a letter documenting the disposition of the allegation of

                     abuse if requested by the employee. Copies of that letter will be

                     distributed, at the employee’s request, to all persons who received notice

                     of the allegation.

 

                     5. To aid in the process of reporting suspected or alleged incidents of

                     child abuse, DoDEA agrees to the following:

 

                     a. Annually post the FAP Officer’s name and telephone number in each

                     school.

 

                     b. Provide periodic and on-going training to bargaining unit employees in

                     the identification of child abuse.

 

                     c. All new employees will be provided information about their rights and

                     responsibilities. Employees will receive annual updates of any changes.

                     Conditions under which employees may be required to view the training

                     compact disk, entitled "Child Abuse Identification and Prevention" will be

                     worked out at the local level.

 

                     d. Request that military community commanders provide instruction

                     annually to stakeholders regarding the identification and reporting of child

                     abuse and neglect, to include information as to the serious nature of any

                     allegation of child abuse.

 

                     e. Observe the confidentiality and privacy right of employees accused of

                     child abuse in accordance with the Privacy Act, 5 U.S.C. 552a. To

                     ensure that the due process and privacy rights of an accused educator

                     are protected, the school administration will make efforts to communicate

                     with parents in a secure manner when such communication is about

                     allegations of institutional child abuse.

 

                     f. Return employees detailed from their normal teaching assignments

                     because of an allegation of child abuse to their normal assignment if the

                     investigation of the allegation is not completed within 60 days unless the

                     employee and the union are notified beforehand.

 

                     g. Employees who make good faith reports of child abuse or suspected

                     child abuse will be immune from civil and criminal liability arising out of

                     such good faith reports pursuant to the "Victims of Child Abuse Act of

                     1990".

 

                     h. Employees detailed to a work site beyond the normal commute will

                     receive travel entitlements in accordance with the JTR and

                     Government-wide regulations and travel time will be considered hours of

                     work when authorized by law, rule or regulation.

 

                     6. Employees against whom an allegation of child abuse is made may be

                     eligible for counseling through the Agency’s Employee Assistance

                     Program, the local DoD FAP office or under the Federal Employees

                     Compensation Act.

 

                     7. The parties also acknowledge that wherever the term "immediately"

                     appears in the Regulation, it is understood to mean "as soon as possible"

                     given the context of an educator’s exigent responsibilities to supervise

                     children, but in no circumstances later than the end of the duty day in

                     which the suspicion of abuse becomes known.

 

                     8. The parties further acknowledge that an educator’s use of reasonable

                     force to restrain a student is appropriate to prevent the student from

                     harming himself or herself, harming others or destroying property.

                     Appropriate use of physical restraint under these circumstances is neither

                     child abuse nor corporal punishment.

 

                     9. The parties further acknowledge that in addition to the requirements of

                     DoDEA Regulation 2050.9, corporal punishment, whether or not

                     amounting to child abuse, is prohibited by DoDEA Regulation 2051.1,

                     "Department of Defense Education Activity Disciplinary Rules and

                     Procedures".

 

                     10. Any discipline of an employee, whether for child abuse or corporal

                     punishment, will be taken in accordance with procedures set forth in the

                     Negotiated Agreement between the parties and applicable laws. If the

                     Agency proposes discipline against an employee because of an allegation

                     of child abuse, the Agency will make available to the employee all

                     reports, which the Agency relied upon in proposing discipline.

 

                     11. The employee will be informed of any record or registry that is to be

                     maintained on any child abuse allegation made against the educator,

                     where and by whom the record is maintained, to the extent the Agency is

                     aware of such record or registry.

 

                     12. Where there is any conflict between any instructional compact disks,

                     manuals or directives concerning child abuse issued through DoDEA and

                     the Regulation/MOU, the Regulation/MOU will take precedence.

 

                     (signed) James Lewis for DoDDS, November 4, 1999

 

                     (signed) Karen Rose for FEA, November, 3, 1999