Providence teachers afraid to hug students under new law

Providence Journal: PROVIDENCE — When an allegation of sexual abuse by a Providence teacher went unreported to the state Department of Children, Youth and Families this spring, Providence schools quickly revised their policies so such an incident wouldn’t fall through the system again.

But there has been unintended consequences from the district’s efforts to comply with a new state law that says any allegations of sex abuse by a school employee must be reported to DCYF within 24 hours.

More teachers and principals have been placed on administrative leave while DCYF investigates abuse allegations, leaving some schools and classrooms temporarily short-handed, according to both the union president and the schools superintendent. At one point this fall, 48 educators were on administrative leave at different times while suspicions of some form of misconduct were being reviewed, according to School Board President Nicholas Hemond.

Most of the 48 who had been placed on leave have been cleared of wrongdoing, said Laura Hart, School Department spokeswoman.

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