The Montgomery County Board of Education is seeking public comments on revisions to Policy JHC—Child Abuse and Neglect. The policy guides Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) procedures and protocols related to recognizing, reporting, and preventing suspected child abuse and neglect of students.
“The Board of Education is committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of all students,” said Board of Education President Patricia B. O’Neill. “This policy will serve as the foundation for the school district’s efforts to protect students and ensure that every employee understands his or her responsibilities if they suspect a student is being abused or neglected.”
The Board tentatively approved revisions to Policy JHC on Monday (April 27, 2015), which will now be posted for public review and comment.
A copy of the draft policy is available on the MCPS website, as are draft protocols for reporting and investigating child abuse and neglect and an interim report from Praesidium, the external firm with whom MCPS has contracted to assist in the updating and improvement of policies and practices in this critical area. These documents can also be viewed in the Department of Public Information and Web Services by calling 301-279-3853.
Individuals who wish to provide comments should respond in writing by June 8, 2015. All responses should be sent to the Office of the Superintendent of Schools, 850 Hungerford Drive, Rockville, Maryland 20850 or to the Board of Education at firstname.lastname@example.org. All responses will be shared with the Board of Education and the Interim Superintendent of Schools.
The revised policy outlines strategies for ensuring that:
- All employees understand and are held accountable for the highest ethical standards in their conduct, as well as adhering to legal mandates and the moral imperative to recognize, report, and prevent suspected child abuse and neglect;
- Children and vulnerable adults who are alleged victims of abuse and/or neglect are supported;
- Human resource management systems and processes for screening new and existing employees are developed;
- Professional learning for MCPS employees is developed and implemented; and
- Opportunities are provided for parents, outside contractors, volunteers, and the broader community to develop awareness on recognizing, reporting, and preventing abuse and neglect of children and vulnerable adults.
More information about procedures, policies and protocols related to child abuse and neglect are available on the MCPS website.