Florida Schools Face Million Dollar Fine if Abuse Goes Unreported

By: Mike Vasilinda Email
By: Mike Vasilinda Email

Tallahassee, FL -- June 12, 2012 --

The Penn State scandal brought down a legendary coach, the University president, and more.

"There's no indication whatsoever that any big-time athletic program here in Florida has ignored abuses like those that occurred at Penn State. But state lawmakers aren't taking any chances.
House Bill 1355 signed by the Governor imposes a one million dollar fine on schools that look the other way. The legislation was pushed by a father-daughter duo.

"That sends a message that we're not going to let a Penn State, a Syracuse, a Citadel circumstance happen here."
Daughter Lauren Book was abused for years by her Nanny. She's turned that experience into a crusade--criss-crossing the state for children."

"My hope is that when somebody suspects an abuse, that they make a report; that they make a report and that children are kept safe; and that once that report is made, it triggers an investigation so that children are not left in peril."
The legislation is expected to increase the number of calls to the child abuse hot line by 40 thousand a year. The increase is due to an expansion of who is required to report.

Previously, the hot line only took calls about care givers who were suspected of hurting their charges. Now it will take calls about anyone.

The new requirements and penalties take effect October First. The Department and Children and Families was given money to hire forty additional call specialists to handle the increased number of reports.

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  • by Jim Location: Gadsden County on Jun 13, 2012 at 07:42 AM
    Misdirected punishment. 1 million dollars to be paid by the taxpayers? 1 million dollars to be paid by the insurance that the taxpayer pays for? Put the burden (dollars and jail time)on the people that are responsible for reporting these abuses.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Jun 13, 2012 at 09:45 AM in reply to Jim
      (dollars and jail time)on the people that are responsible for NOT reporting these abuses. There, I fixed it for you.
  • by Random Govt Employee on Jun 13, 2012 at 07:14 AM
    Another useless law. In the Florida Statute covering Child Abuse there are already fines and possible jail sentences for any person who fails to report child abuse. This is sensationalist knee jerk that serves no purpose. Enforce the laws we have before making new ones.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Jun 13, 2012 at 09:44 AM in reply to Random Govt Employee
      Politicians are reactionary to show they are doing something. You can bet that they are all using this in their campaigns.
  • by Jess on Jun 12, 2012 at 08:33 PM
    they will also need to set aside another pile of money for the libel and slander when schools report something and it turns out to be a mistake.
  • by Anonymous on Jun 12, 2012 at 08:32 PM
    This is nothing but bureaucratic circle mongering. Out of what fund will the $1 Million fines come from? Many funds are specific on what qualifies. You can't take it out of research grants or the granting agency will be fining some people.
  • by true on Jun 12, 2012 at 07:51 PM
    My son writes papers all the time about how his dad does drugs... Wakulla schools don't care, either. It's sad. DCF turns their head, I do all I can but need help. I've got nobody to turn to when my child begs me to help him.
    • reply
      by dog on Jun 13, 2012 at 06:34 AM in reply to true
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Jun 13, 2012 at 07:58 AM in reply to true
      I love fiction!
  • by Anonymous on Jun 12, 2012 at 07:02 PM
    So a State run school gets fined and pays the fine to the State which in turn gives back to the school to offset the fine. What is this going to do again?
  • by self Location: Florida on Jun 12, 2012 at 05:49 PM
    What about all the child neglect that is not reported as well. Children go to school dirty, hungry and without sleep because they are neglected at home. These teachers do not report that, Woodville Elementary has not once reported a student that attended there for the last four years and is a neglected child and now moves on to Middle School and they will not report it either. Hmmm.... What about it Florida teachers?
    • reply
      by Marissa on Jun 13, 2012 at 11:20 AM in reply to self
      Probably because if Woodville Elementary reported dirty or hungry children they would have to report the parents for half their student body.
  • by Somebody who knows Location: Florida on Jun 12, 2012 at 05:48 PM
    This is going to make no diff. I have had dcf involved in a sex crime that took place against my daughter on two separate occasions with two different reportings about a year apart and still they have done nothing but offer counceling. This is bs. They done nothing because it was a juvenile that commited the crime.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Jun 12, 2012 at 07:05 PM in reply to Somebody who knows
      Why did you call dcf? If a crime was committed you should call the police! You also have to insist that the perpetrator be charged.
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