School Life
Safety & Healthy Boundaries

Emma Willard School Leads in Policies to Protect Students

A bill sponsored by Democratic Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan of Queens, and western New York Republican Pat Gallivan in the Senate has made its way to the desk of Governor Cuomo.
 
The legislation would require that employees of private schools be mandated reporters by law. Currently, private schools are not required by law to report instances of negligence or abuse to authorities. Emma Willard School’s mandatory reporting policy exceeds the current law, and clearly states that each adult is considered a mandated reporter. 
 
Through many different types of education and communication, including the Employee Handbook and the Emma Willard School Standards of Behavior,  the school has trained its adult community to recognize the signs of negligence, inappropriate behavior, and abuse, and has, for many years, required each adult to report suspected cases to authorities including the police and Child Protective Services. 
 
Students at Emma also receive multiple points of education throughout the course of their time at Emma. Topics like consent, what power differentials mean in relationships, sexual violence, and how to report and seek help are covered regularly in and out of the classroom.
 
The myriad of trainings and education for our community around the prevention of and response to sexual misconduct has been intentional, as has the clear communication of our school policies and procedures,” said Head of School Jenny Rao. “We remain committed to this ongoing work ensuring that Emma Willard School is safe for our students today and tomorrow, and that our girls are prepared for the challenges they might face in this world.”
 
Administrators were recently interviewed by a local news channel to speak toward the school’s mandatory reporting policy and other initiatives to prevent and respond to sexual misconduct on school campuses. 
 
“It is our sincere hope that by sharing our experience and what we have learned with organizations beyond our campus, that we can make a difference for other institutions, educators, parents, and students,” said Rao. “While a change in law does not impact our policy, we support measures that protect the safety of students everywhere.”
 
The school has created a public resource board that houses some highlights of some of the work around this issue on its website. On Tuesday, December 11, members of the student life team and the Campus Leadership Team will hold an open forum for students to discuss current and future school initiatives, and the proposed legislation. 
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    • The school communicates policies to protect children in many ways

285 Pawling Avenue, Troy, NY 12180 | P: 518.833.1300 F: 518.833.1815
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