Ethics And The Legal System: A Case Study Reflection

866 Words 4 Pages
Ethics and the Legal System: A Case Study Reflection
This paper describes and analyzes the ethical considerations and legal obligations of a public elementary teacher, a school guidance counselor, and a principal in a case of potential physical abuse of third grade student by her step-father. A teacher first becomes aware of this alleged situation from interactions with the student’s classmate. Without a direct accusation of abuse by the student herself law enforcement is reluctant to become involved. The local Child Protective Services reporting process is slow due to a lack of qualified staff and an overburdened system. At the end of the school day, the principal is left with the dilemma of how to respond in the best interest of a child who
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On a Friday in April, an elementary school principal with almost ten years of experience is faced with making a difficult decision. How should she intervene in a situation of unsubstantiated child abuse? Mrs. Keller, a respected teacher with over 25 years of experience at Vanderbilt Elementary School, utilizes the principal’s open door policy to inform her about a case of possible child abuse involving one of her students. Mrs. Keller was told in confidence by Holly Hunt, a straight “A” student with no known history of dishonesty, that a classmate named Savannah Wilson begged Holly allow her to spend the weekend at Holly’s house. Savannah does not want to “play house” with her step-father this upcoming weekend. Mrs. Keller suspects Savannah’s reluctance to “play house” coupled with her actively seeking a way to avoid spending time with her step-father could imply a situation of child …show more content…
Keller already brought her suspicions regarding Savannah’s home life to the attention of Ms. Tress, the school counselor. Ms. Tress told Mrs. Keller that “playing house” could have any number of meanings, but nonetheless agreed to interview Savannah. During Ms. Tress’s interview with Savannah, Savannah did not openly admit to being abused by her step-father. However, Savannah did demonstrate inappropriate touching between two dolls during her the session with Ms. Tress. Due to her concern, Ms. Tress asked to question Holly Hunt, the student who initially brought the potential allegation of child abuse to the attention of her teacher, Mrs. Keller. When questioned, Holly insisted that Savannah had in fact been sexually abused by her step-father. Holly was able to provide a detailed account based on stories Savannah had previously told her. Holly became emotionally disturbed and was excused from school for the

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