As the title says, should foreign teachers report cases of suspected child abuse?
There's a small child in my class, an 8-year-old boy, who regularly comes to school with bruises and hit marks. Nothing outrageous, but definitely noticeable, as they're not exactly the kind of injuries consistent with being too ambitious on the jungle gym.
It's a public secret as to what's going on. The boy sometimes cries and confides to the Chinese teacher that his father frequently comes home drunk and lashes out at everyone in his bad mood, verbally abusing the mother and physically beating the boy for simple things like not picking up his toys or not having his homework done. His mother, who is the only parent to ever show up at our school, also acknowledges this, but chalks it up to strong-handed discipline.
Now I understand that physically hitting a child as a form of discipline is considered acceptable and quite standard in Taiwan. In fact, most Taiwanese parents will argue that negative reinforcement far outweighs the uselessness of positive reinforcement, and that children (and pets) need to be smacked to make them learn, the validity of which is an argument for another thread.
But when does the smacking around become too much? The kid doesn't have any broken bones or anything, but I can't even remember when he's come to class without a few bruises on his body. And the abuse is not just physical either; the kid is always shy and fidgety, extremely reluctant to speak up in class, and deathly afraid of angering the teachers.
If this were the US, I'd have filed a report immediately. But sadly, it's not, and probably no one will support me on this. While everyone in the school knows what's going on and says how it breaks their hearts, no one's willing to take a stand in fear of losing their jobs for meddling in someone else's personal affairs. And while the mom complains about her husband, she still seems to think it's just a harsh, but acceptable, form of discipline. So no one has my back on either front.
In the end, I'll probably just get heat from both the parents and the school for poking my nose in their business and creating unnecessary drama for everyone. Then I'll probably get fired from the school. But does that mean I should just sit back and pretend nothing is happening? What would you guys do?