Louisiana's Mandatory Reporter Law
Teachers and administrators are often held accountable when it comes to cases involving abuse, but revisions to Louisiana's Mandatory Reporter Law requires anyone who is directly involved with children to report suspicious activity.
Law states that any person in the Children's Code who is a "Mandatory Reporter" is required to report abuse or neglect of a minor, including sexual abuse of a child under age 18.
They must also report information to authorities when there's cause to believe a child's physical or mental health or welfare is endangered.
Mandatory Reporters include Health Practitioners, Mental Health/Social Service workers, teachers, childcare providers, parenting coordinators, school coaches, etc.
School officials say spreading the responsibility is what's best for our children.
"I think this is a policy that certainly needs to be enforced, I think it's one that we need to be aware of what's going on in our children's lives and if there's something to it, certainly we've helped that child," says Don Coker, Ouachita Parish Superintendent. "If not, the investigation is out there and we can make sure that parents know we're doing everything we can to protect them."
Mandatory Reporters are not only obligated to report suspicious activity in their professional capacity, but at all times. Any Mandatory Reporter that knowingly fails to report abuse will be fined up to $3,000 or up to three years in jail.