I wanted to respond to your letter of January 2, 2008 concerning a report of child abuse against a teacher in the McDowell County school system. I appreciate that you brought this to my attention.
Each school system has the ability to allow corporal punishment or not allow it within there school district in the state of North Carolina. County school boards are for the most part chosen by an electoral process. The decision about corporal punishment usually is based on the norms of the community and I would say that is the case here.
One of your concerns was whether are different standards about the reporting of abuse and neglect to DSS in NC. According to statute we only investigate reports of abuse and neglect by caretakers, and in NC a school teacher is not considered to be a caretaker. We would take the report and forward that on to the District Attorney's office and also to law enforcement. That is what happened in this case. We would also encourage the reporter to do the same.
You also asked about why a reporter would be asked why it took so long to report. There is a question on the structured intake report that all county DSS's use that ask the reporter why they decided to report today and if there had been a length of time between the incident and the report to also ask why.
I hope I have answered your concerns with the Department of Social Services. The rest of your letter goes into issues that I have no control of. I would ask that you need to take those questions up with the proper authorities.
Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.
McDowell County Department of Social Services
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