BRENTWOOD -- After facing major public scrutiny for its mandated reporting practices, Brentwood Union School District says its employee training is now much more proactive.
At this week's school board meeting, the district shared what it has done since January 2013 to enhance its mandated reporter training for employees. The training push started after a 2012 settlement in a case in which a Brentwood special education teacher kicked a preschooler, and some employees failed to follow proper mandated reporting requirements.
By state law, school district employees must report any reasonable suspicion of child abuse or neglect to the local police department or the county's Child Family Services. This includes suspected sexual, physical or emotional abuse of anyone under age 18.
"In January 2013, we embarked on massive mandated reporter trainings," district Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Margaret Kruse said.
Since then, Kruse noted that every regular district employee has been trained in mandated reporting through in-person sessions and an online module. She said all substitutes, activity supervisors and overnight field trip volunteers have taken the online courses.
For the upcoming school year, Kruse said that all newly hired employees will be trained within the first 30 days of employment. Their training will include four online courses on child abuse identification, boundaries and sexual misconduct, in addition to the in-person training.
"It is good for classified employees who may see something, but they don't have the same relationships with students," said school board President Heather Partida.
Because the courses are online, the system records employee progress on each module. Kruse said that this also allows the district to track training data that the state may require in the future.
"We are reminding them (employees) of their obligation," she said.
Although school board members are not mandated reporters, the district has shared the modules with them so they can understand what is being required of district employees. Information on mandated reporting is also available for easy reference on the district's revamped website, multiple posters on every campus and a flier distributed to all staff.
"We are doing much more than other districts countywide," said Brentwood schools Superintendent Dana Eaton.
Contact Paula King at 925-779-7141.