New York City schools and private academies across the state will be required to report allegations of sex abuse to public authorities under a new law signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday, closing a massive loophole that left children vulnerable to predators.
The law followed a string of sex abuse scandals that have rocked some state schools, including several of its prestigious private academies in recent years.
“There is nothing more important than the safety and well-being of our children,” Cuomo said in a statement. “With this bill, we are closing a frightening gap in the law and taking action to ensure all students in both public and private schools are protected from abuse. In New York, we will continue to do everything in our power to combat child abuse and keep our young people safe.”
Previously, the state reporting requirements only applied to public schools outside of New York City. Now, city public and charter schools and private and parochial schools across the state will be required to notify law enforcement of sex abuse allegations.
School employees and administrators who fail to report will face a Class A misdemeanor, up to a $500 fine and potential loss of their professional license.
The city Department of Education was not available to immediately comment.
All told, the new law will expand protections for 1.5 million children across the state and help prevent cases of abuse from failing through the cracks.
Two top New York City prep schools, Horace Mann and the Dalton School, have been rocked by sex abuse allegations in recent years.
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