Education

Unusual Behavior, Bruises May Be Signs of Child Abuse

January 25, 1984 1 min read

Wears a long-sleeved blouse or shirt during summer months to cover bruises on the arms;

A child who exhibits only one of the signs may not necessarily be a victim of abuse, Mr. Fraser points out. But if a number of the indicators are present, he writes, a teacher would be wise, when in doubt, “to resolve the doubt in favor of the child and report.”

Child abuse should be suspected if a student:

  • Is habitually away from school and constantly late, or arrives at school very early and leaves very late because he or she does not want to go home;
  • Is compliant, shy, withdrawn, passive, and uncommunicative--signs of having internalized the problem of dealing with adults;
  • Is nervous, hyperactive, aggressive, disruptive, or destructive--signs of acting out the “hurt” to get attention;
  • Has an unexplained injury--a patch of hair missing, a burn, a limp, or bruises--or has an inordinate amount of “explained” injuries, such as bruises on arms and legs over a period of time;
  • Exhibits an injury that is not adequately explained;
  • Complains about numerous beatings;
  • Goes to the bathroom with difficulty;
  • Complains about mother’s boyfriend “doing things” when the mother is not at home;
  • Is inadequately dressed for inclement weather;
  • Wears a long-sleeved blouse or shirt during summer months to cover bruises on the arms;
  • Has clothing that is soiled, tattered, or too small;
  • Is dirty and smells or has bad teeth, hair falling out, or lice;
  • Is thin, emaciated, and constantly tired; shows evidence of malnutrition and dehydration;
  • Is unusually fearful of other children and adults; or
  • Has been given inappropriate food, drink, or drugs.
  • To obtain a copy of the booklet, which costs $3, or to receive a free information package, write the National Committee for Prevention of Child Abuse, P.O. Box 2866, Chicago, Ill. 60690.--AB

    A version of this article appeared in the January 18, 1984 edition of Education Week as Unusual Behavior, Bruises May Be Signs of Child Abuse