In response to queries from alumni, Dr. Tom Kelly, Horace Mann’s Head of School, has written expressing support for the Child Victims Act (commonly known as the “Markey Bill”) proposed by NY State Assemblywoman Margaret Markey. Dr. Kelly has given us permission to post the text of his email here. If you would like to know more about the Markey Bill, please visit www.nychildvictimsact.org. At the following site you can also see videos of testimony at a NY State Assembly hearing on the Markey Bill: http://www.youtube.com/user/HMActionCoalition.
Below is the text of Dr. Kelly’s email about the Markey Bill.
In response to your question about the Markey bill, yes, I’m a supporter, but one who continues to feel that the bill in its current form falls short and does little to address long-standing conflicts with the two primary child abuse reporting laws in New York State. As you may remember, I am a former director of both a residential school for students with profound learning/developmental/social-emotional needs and a state-run children’s psychiatric hospital. In its current form, the Markey bill does not give relief to those students abused while attending a government funded program/school. Given my own professional experience, I feel it would be a huge injustice to ignore this portion of the student population in New York State, when, in fact, they represent some of our neediest kids. And yes, I do understand the difficulty in getting around the “notice requirement” associated with any claim filed against a government entity. Ideally, I would’ve preferred to see Markey’s earlier bill lead the charge as it did attempt to address the “notice requirement” associated with students abused in a government funded program. … and I do understand that Markey’s bill cannot address all of my concerns given the setting in which her bill takes flight. Regardless, and as shared previously, I’ve always been a supporter of any attempt to move the ball down the field in terms of more stringent child abuse prevention and reporting laws.
Beyond the Markey bill, I continue to be amazed by our elected officials’ ongoing confusion over the mandated reporting laws in New York State. As accurately described in the Bronx DA’s most recent press release, both reporting laws are critically flawed, and beyond the flaws noted, they fail to include coaches. I’m not sure what it will take for our elected officials to sit up and fix these flaws, but something needs to happen.
The Board of Trustees is aware of the fact that I am a supporter of any legislative attempts to tighten the child abuse prevention and reporting laws.
Hope the above info answers your question.
Best wishes always,
Thomas M. Kelly, Ph.D.
Head of School