In a suit against the Houston ISD the plaintiff alleges that the district violated Title IX by not reporting an alleged student-on-student sexual assault to CPS or to a state law enforcement agency. Instead, the district turned the matter over to its own police department.
The court found no problem with this. The court cited the Texas Family Code:
The Texas Family Code requires a report of child abuse to be made to Child Protective Services or to any “local or state law enforcement agency.” See Tex. Family Code 261.103(a)(1).
Notice: that statute says the report can go to either CPS or to law enforcement. But there is an important exception built into the statute. If the alleged abuse was committed by a person who is responsible for the “care, custody or welfare” of the child, then the report MUST be made to the Department of Family and Protective Services. That term—a person responsible for the care, custody or welfare of the child—applies to school employees and school volunteers.
So to whom do you report? If the abuse was allegedly committed by a parent, teacher, teacher aide or other school employee the report must go to DFPS. If, as in this case, the alleged abuse was by a student, the report can go to DFPS or to a state or local law enforcement agency.
The case is Ayala v. Houston ISD, decided by the federal court for the Southern District of Texas on January 22, 2018. We found it at 2018 WL 496898.
DAWG BONE: IF REPORTING ABUSE BY A SCHOOL EMPLOYEE, MAKE THE REPORT TO DFPS.