Visitor Question

Sexually assaultive preschooler…

Submitted By: B (Alaska, USA)

I work in a preschool run by an non profit organization. The preschool is located within a school run by the school district, but the nonprofit is not part of the official school district. Students are 3 to 5 years old.

We have one child who acts like he has been sexually abused. His acting out has escalated to him touching and pulling on another boy’s penis in the bathroom. Before this happened we had been trying to get help from the preschool administration to remove him, to protect other students, or make an additional staff person available in an effort to protect other students.

Everyday he is trying to hump, kiss, french kiss other students, or trying to touch their private areas. He even groped a staff member’s breasts several times.

When we ask mom, she is in complete denial and appears to have her own mental challenges.

Our administration says we can’t kick out any children because it is our role to help these kids. All they have allowed us to do in a first offense of physical assault is to call home.

Second offense that day, the child gets picked up by parent. If it happens more than twice per week, the teacher will “home school” the kid with a weekly visit to the home.

Staff have been physically attacked by this child and other kids in the class. One incident even required medical attention for a staff member. I’m concerned that as teachers and staff we will be held liable if the sexual harassment continues. We have made reports to child protective services, but the child is still in our program.

We feel we are unable to protect the rest of the children from the sexual harassment and physical assaults. If additional incidents occur, are we personally liable even if our administration has been notified? Is there anything else we can do to get this situation handled appropriately? CPS doesn’t appear to be doing anything. Thank you.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.

Answer

Dear B,

You will not be personally liable for acting in the capacity of a teacher. That presumes you have done all that is reasonably possible to protect other children from the abusive behavior of the one child. It appears you have.

Moreover, from the facts you present CPS has also been notified. If they choose not to intervene, there is nothing you can do.

If you, or other teachers are concerned about further abuse or injury, you might have to resign from the school and seek employment elsewhere. This may seem extreme, but if no one else will do what is necessary to protect you, the other teachers, and other students, you might be better of entirely removing yourself from the situation.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: February 17, 2015

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