Legislation to Protect Students from Sexual Abuse is Signed into Law

Patrick M. Gallivan

December 10, 2018

Legislation Closes Loophole in Education Law

Senator Patrick M. Gallivan, (R-C-I, Elma) announces legislation (S-7372B) that expands the types of educational settings required to report child abuse and increases the professions required to receive training to identify and report abuse has been signed into law by the governor.  The bill was sponsored by Senator Gallivan in response to news reports earlier this year of sexual abuse revelations at Nichols School in Buffalo.

Under current law, private schools are not included in requirements to report child abuse in an educational setting, potentially putting students attending private schools at a greater risk. The new law requires allegations of abuse at private schools, as well as charter schools, state-supported and state-operated schools, Special Act School Districts, and boards of cooperative educational services (BOCES), be reported directly to law enforcement.

It also expands the responsibility for reporting abuse allegations to include therapists, speech-language pathologists, teacher aides, school resource officers and school bus drivers.  The legislation further amends education law to require that all teachers and administrators employed by a private or charter school to complete two hours of training regarding the identification and reporting of child abuse.

“It’s not clear why private schools were not included in the original law, but this corrects that by mandating that all schools report allegations and instances of abuse to the proper authorities,” Senator Gallivan said.  “Teachers, school employees and others responsible for the care and safety of our children must be held accountable, regardless of the educational setting.  I urge the governor to sign this legislation into law.  I thank my Legislature colleagues for passing this bill and the Governor for signing it into law”

The bill passed the Senate and Assembly earlier this year.  The new law takes effect in 180 days.