Justices: Teacher wasn’t required to report children’s abuse

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Teachers in Washington are supposed to tell authorities when they believe a student has suffered abuse or neglect. But Washington’s Supreme Court says that requirement doesn’t necessarily apply when a teacher’s own child is the victim.

In an 8-1 ruling Thursday, the court dismissed a Pierce County case against a teacher who failed to immediately report that her daughters told her their stepfather had molested them.

State law requires certain professionals, including teachers, nurses and police, to make reports when they have reasonable cause to believe a child has been abused.

The court said the law requires some connection between the occupation and the suspicion of abuse — thus, the teacher was not obligated to report the suspected abuse in her own home.

The stepfather pleaded guilty to molestation and was sentenced to at least 11 years.