Researchers find child abuse rates rise when report cards issued on Friday
The study examined use of corporal punishment and verified child abuse in the state as recorded by the state's child abuse hotline for the 2015-2016 school year. Researchers compared counties and the dates report cards were released with the dates of verified cases of physical abuse in children from 5 to 11-years-old.
Of the 1,943 verified cases of abuse in 64 counties, there was no significant association of report cards and abuse for any other day of the week. For schools where report cards were released on Fridays, researchers found a rate almost four times higher (3.75%) taking place the Saturday after release.
Researchers hypothesize the higher rates could be due to parents and caregivers being distracted by other activities like work or childcare during the other weekdays. Another possibility posed could be caregivers avoid harsh punishment when children will be seen by teachers the following day.
It is believed to be the first of its kind study and researchers say policies at the state and school district level could be made to reduce the likelihood of physical abuse.
The study was led by researchers at the University of Florida, including researchers from Georgia State University and Harvard University. It was published in the American Medical Association's JAMA Network.