I don’t think you’re crazy. There is certainly a hard-and-fast line that needs to be drawn, and frankly I think that line should boil down to three questions:
- Is the child breaking any laws?
- Is the child harming other children?
- Is the child in danger of receiving disciplinary or academic punishment by the school (will they have to repeat a grade/will they be expelled/etc.)?
Only if the answer is “yes” to any one of those questions should disclosure to parents be required no matter what the child says. Otherwise it’s frankly none of the parents’ business.
There is also something else to consider: not telling the parents doesn’t mean taking no action. Teachers and school administrators are in fact required to report suspected abuse to the local authorities, and that’s ideally what would be done if the child is truly scared of their parents. Just, you know, you don’t give the parents a heads-up so they can destroy evidence/concoct alibis.