Doing the right thing, House Bill 3

Currently passed by the house and awaiting senate approval in Virginia is House Bill no. 3. This bill doesn’t directly affect schools by its change, but instead is a law that already affects public schools and is now being expanded upon. It’s a state mandate for the reporting of child abuse by persons such as:

  • doctors,
  • hospital nurses,
  • social workers,
  • teachers in public or private schools,
  • court-appointed special advocates for children,
  • EMTs.

The amendment seeks to add additional language so that the following people are included:

  • athletic coaches, director, or other person working for, or volunteering with a private sports organization or team, and
  • administrators, employees, or volunteers of public or private day camps, youth centers, and youth recreation programs.

If any such persons named do not report abuse within 72 hours of first suspicion, they can be fined not more than $500 for the first failure and any subsequent failures not less than $100 nor more than $1000. Specifically, this for the abuse and neglect of children.

This proposal by Delegate Robert. G. Marshall is likely in response to the Penn State scandal with Jerry Sandusky. I can understand the language, and also understand where this addition could close a potential loop hole. While the bill doesn’t specifically mention sexual abuse, there are specific cases that are defined such as suspected substance abuse by a new mother.

This bill is sponsored by Delgates John O’Bannon, III, Richard Anderson, Robert Bell, Timothy Hugo, and Tony Wilt. It’s personally interesting to note the all-Republican-sponorship of this bill.

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