NORMAN — Q: I have a gut feeling that one of my son’s friends is being hit by someone in his family. We have seen bruises and scratches. When I have asked him what happened, he is uncomfortable and his story just doesn’t seem right. What should I do?
— Name Withheld
A: As educators, we have to deal with this type of issue regularly. We are trained to realize it is not our responsibility to try and figure out what happened. Our responsibility is to let the authorities investigate and make the determination as to whether there is actual abuse.
As a citizen of the state of Oklahoma, if you suspect abuse, you are required to notify the Department of Human Services. This can be done anonymously and is a very simple phone call.
You will need to have as much information as you can, such as phone number, address, number of people and names of those in the household. Any other information you can give them is helpful. It’s also best to notify them when something on the child’s body is visible.
All workers are very nice and supportive. The phone number for the statewide abuse hotline is 800-522-3511. They will give you a referral number at the end of your call. This way, you can call back and check on the status of your report.
As counselors, we have had to make this call many times.
We know it can be a little uncomfortable the first time you make a call. Please realize this is for the safety and well-being of a child. You are doing the right thing. Please make the call.
Q: School has always been my 16-year-old daughter’s least favorite place to be. She recently informed me that she can drop out of school, since she has turned 16. Is this really true?