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This post originally appeared in the Jan. 31 Sacramento Report. Get the Sacramento Report delivered to your inbox.
After Voice of San Diego spent two years reporting on how school districts handle (or don’t) sexual misconduct cases, San Diego Unified launched a task force to recommend strategies and protocols to better address the issue. Those recommendations dropped this week, and among them is an item urging the district to endorse a state bill, AB 1929, written by Assemblywoman Blanca Rubio.
That bill is tied to an earlier law passed by Rubio in 2015, SB 478, which allowed for up to 10 counties to create pilot programs allowing for internet-based reporting of child abuse and neglect. Existing law requires mandated reporters of suspected abuse to report concerns via telephone.
So far, only Los Angeles County has created such a pilot program. The initial bill required the pilot program to wrap by 2021. AB 1929 would remove that deadline.
A fact sheet created by Rubio’s office says the L.A. system has been a success: “The CARES online reporting system has exceeded expectations. In 2019, over 5,900 online reports to CARES were submitted (primarily by school personnel) – in comparison to 1,838 online reports in 2018 – a 322% increase.”
Endorsing AB 1929 could mean that San Diego Unified is interested in creating its own pilot program, and removing the sunset date from the original bill could allow it to do so.
The San Diego County District Attorney’s Office, which is separately investigating how to better address misconduct cases in schools, recently launched its own online reporting tool where students, parents and others can report abuse.