Todays news includes a report that a teacher who witnessed an alleged beating of a student by a teacher and failed to report it has resigned. http://www.kvue.com/home/Charter-school-officials-Teacher-who-saw-coworker-beating-student-resigns-93942739.html?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter
The law is full of things we should not do - like beat up on 13 year old kids. There are far fewer things that the law requires us to DO, but there are some. The teacher who saw the incident should have reported what he saw. Although there is no general duty for private citizens to report crimes that they witness, in this case there several reasons the teacher should have taken the initiative to report what he saw.
1. Teachers have a duty to report suspected child abuse. While not all physical altercations between students and teachers are child abuse, anything that appears to go beyond force needed to control the child should be reported.
2. Teachers have a professional code of ethics which requires them to report ethical violations committed by other teachers. The excessive use of physical force on a child is definitely an ethical violation.
3. Most schools have either incorporated the teachers code of ethics into their policies or have adopted their own standards of conduct, which usually require employees to report suspected violations.
4. Even without a specific employment policy requiring that certain things be reported, the school could easily allege that failure to report the incident constituted a serious lack of professional judgment, possibly serious enough to support a contract termination.