Process for handling child abuse allegations involving school students and school staff

MEMPHIS, TN - When the focus turns off the learning and into allegations of a possible crime inside a Shelby County School, there are rules and regulations that are supposed to be followed.

Even on Shelby County School's  2010 Policy Manual, it clearly states that it's state law, you are required to report suspected child abuse.

According to the policy, if an alleged abuser is a school employee, that employee shall immediately be placed on paid administrative leave pending investigation.

The principal then notifies the Department of Children Services.

Within 24 hours, coordinating with Department of Children Services, the principal must verbally notify the parent or legal guardian of the child.

The principal then contacts the Employee Federal Rights Coordinator to began an investigation. They  will report back their findings.

If substantiated, the employee will be terminated from Shelby County Schools.

WREG reached out to DCS about their policies in these cases.

They reffered us to their online fact sheet saying everyone in Tennessee is a mandated reporter of child abuse.

Failure to report is a Class A Misdemeanor carrying a fine and up to 3 months jail time.

Shelby County Schools tells us Memphis Police and the Department of Children Services are always made aware as soon as the school is alerted about an accusation.

Then they begin their own investigations.

DCS says a child protection investigative team works together on abuse cases. DCS looks for evidence of abuse.

The Child Advocacy Center interviews the child and police investigate any criminal activity.

The DA's office decides whether to prosecute.