Gov. Bobby Jindal issued an executive order Wednesday in response to the allegations of sexual abuse of boys involving a former Penn State University assistant football coach.
Jindal’s order requires anyone working at a public Louisiana college who has witnessed child abuse or neglect to report it to law enforcement within 24 hours.
“The health, safety and best interests of our children is of paramount concern for all Louisianians, and it is appropriate and necessary that the state do everything within its means to ensure that suspected cases of abuse and neglect of our children are reported to the proper authorities,” the governor wrote.
Child care providers and elementary and secondary school teachers already were required to report any abuse or neglect they see, but the law didn’t extend to college professors, administrators, coaches or college staff members, according to a spokeswoman for the Board of Regents.
More than 11,000 high school students are in dual enrollment courses for college credit, so higher education officials have contact with children through those programs and other athletic and cultural activities, Jindal’s order said.
The Louisiana requirement comes after allegations that abuse on Penn State’s campus went unreported to police for years.
Former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky is charged with 40 criminal counts for alleged sexual abuse of eight boys over 15 years. Famed football coach Joe Paterno has been fired, the university president has been ousted and the athletic director and a former senior vice president have been charged with perjury.