Can teachers interrogate students about suspected abuse, after the studenthas asked for their parents?

UPDATED: Jan 8, 2011

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Can teachers interrogate students about suspected abuse, after the studenthas asked for their parents?

My son is 9 and his teacher noticed a bruise on his ear. She asked him about it and he told her that he didn’t know, ask his mother. She then pressured him by asking him specifically if it was caused by his parents. He again refused to tell her anything. After many attempts to manipulate him to say that we did something, she made him feel guilty for not telling her what she asked for. So he eventually said that it may have come from his parents hitting him. The teacher then called DCF. In AR parents are allowed to use corporal punishment without leaving marks? It was found unsubstantiated. Can I sue for civil damages?

Asked on January 8, 2011 under Personal Injury, Arkansas


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Teachers and school officials are generally what is known as mandatory reporters, meaning that they have a legal obligation to report suspected abuse of children.  Additionally, and also generally speaking, schools have the right to question children without their parents present.  You have to remember that the reason that these laws or rules govern is to protect children.  Although the allegations against you were cleared up if it was someone else who was really abusing their child it would have been possible life saving.  Now, you can not practice corporal punishment or unwarranted abuse on children - or anyone for that matter - whether it can be seen or not.  If you feel that undue influence was used on your son then consult with an attorney in your area as to your right to sue.  You will need to prove damages here. 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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