Almost all U.S. states have mandatory reporting laws, that specify certain professions, especially those dealing with children, as being obligated to report evidence of abuse to a state agency. These laws vary by state.
Usually these laws prominently specify that teachers are among the mandatory reporters. For example, from a summary page on the New York State government website:
School official, including (but not limited to):
- guidance counselor
- social worker
- administrator or other school personnel required to hold a teaching or administrative license or certificate
- full or part-time compensated school employee required to hold a temporary coaching license or professional coaching certificate
My question is: Are college instructors generally considered mandatory reporters in the U.S. (i.e., in most states or jurisdictions)? I suppose for the NY State example, it hinges on whether "colleges" count as a "schools", whether "professors" count as "teachers", etc.
I am not currently in a situation where I have any evidence of abuse, nor do I think I ever have been. However, more than once I've had a conversation with someone (usually a grade-school or high-school employee) who make the assumption/assertion that like them, I'm a mandatory reporter -- and my hunch is that's incorrect. I'd like to be prepared in advance if the issue ever does arise, and also to set expectations in conversations like these.
I'm hoping this question is answerable -- possibly with a clearinghouse site that's studied the issue, some professional association or major union guidelines on the issue, or a case finding from a federal court proceeding.
I'm limiting the question to the U.S. because I think it may be troublesome enough with different state laws around the issue.
I'm also most interested in reporting obligations to a government agency outside the school (aside from the fact that some institutions set their own internal reporting requirements). That is, do U.S. college instructors usually need to call to the same state agency that grade-school teachers are required to contact in these cases (e.g., in NYS, the SCR)?