The Dover school board later this month will update its policy on child and student abuse to comply with a state law that goes into effect at the start of 2015.
"The laws are changing in who is required to report" abuse, board member Kelly Mefford said during a meeting Tuesday.
The law, which passed on the heels of the Jerry Sandusky sex scandal at Penn State, requires that all school district employees, not just administrators and teachers, report suspected abuse to the state Department of Welfare immediately.
Penalties for employees who don't report suspected abuse will also increase. They could face misdemeanor or even felony charges, as well as hefty fines they would have to pay out of pocket, Mefford said.
The Dover Area School District was rocked by a child abuse scandal when former music teacher Matthew B. Puterbaugh was charged with child porn, statutory sexual assault and related charges earlier this year.
Changes: The district has already taken steps to comply with the new law. District staff sat through training about the changes at the start of the school year, Mefford said.
Substitute teachers in the district were also trained if they hadn't already been trained by another district. The district will also explore possibly training volunteers who work with students.
But board member Julie Ann Emig said the three hours of training could deter some people from volunteering.
"I'm concerned we won't have volunteers," she said.
The board will vote on the policy change at its next meeting at 7 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 15 at the district administration office, 101 Edgeway Road in Dover.
— Reach Greg Gross at firstname.lastname@example.org.