Pennsylvania Act 153 broadened the group of faculty and staff who have a legal obligation to report suspected child abuse. (The July 1, 2015 amendments did not change this.) By law, all faculty and staff, other than administrative or other support personnel who do not have direct contact with children are considered “School Employees” for purposes of the Pennsylvania Child Protective Services Law (CPSL), and as such are required to report suspected child abuse. In the University’s endeavor to safeguard minors present on the University’s campus and participating in University programs, our new University Policy goes further, stating:
“Every member of the Lehigh University community – including all faculty, staff, students and Volunteers - has the duty and obligation to immediately report suspected instances of the abuse of Minors.”
Additional details, including where and what to report are available in Section 5 of the Policy.
In order to ensure that all current and new University employees (staff and faculty) who are “School Employees” understand their role as “mandated reporters” with respect to suspected child abuse under the Policy, all employees are required to complete the United Educators (UE) online training course entitled “Sexual Misconduct: How Teachers and Other Educators Can Protect Our Children.”
Current employees should have already completed this training. New employees must complete the training when they begin University employment. This training is different from the University’s online training course regarding harassment and discrimination for staff.
The Policy indicates, “all Programs involving Minors must be registered by the Program Director or his/her designee on an annual basis through the University’s online registration system. Such registration should be completed at least sixty (60) days prior to the start of the Program or, if such advance registration is not possible in such a timeframe, as soon as information is available to submit through the online registration system.” This requirement is designed to ensure that Program Directors are given the resources necessary to successfully plan for and administer programs involving minors. Program Directors should register their programs using this online form.