Making Schools a Safer Place: What can be done?
School may be seen as a place to learn and grow, or a place to meet friends, it all revolves around safety. Parents send their children to school knowing that they will be safe there. Sadly, this is not always true. There have been cases where we hear students have been abused by a staff, etc. Also, we often forget that harsh behaviour can have serious consequences for young minds. Thus, scolding them too much or severe punishment can also harm kids.
It is not easy at all, to ensure safety of a large amount of students. There are distant nooks and crannies in large schools where anything can happen. There are times when all children cannot be supervised, for example, as they go from a specialised classroom to another, or from a sports complex to the library. And children always find ways of bunking school, or missing classes.
Some schools install cameras everywhere to monitor activities of children. Other schools insist on specific routines to be maintained that restrict the freedom of students.
Here are some things schools do to ensure that schools are safer places:
Every part of school should be supervised by a teacher especially during lunch break and sports time. Note that you should be able to trust your teachers with sensitive matters like this. Duties must be assigned, apart from teaching duties, and the principal should also take rounds to ensure everyone is doing their job well.
They are responsible for knowing where their buddies are at any point of time, and preferably staying with them. Another version of the buddy system that has seen a reduction in school bullying is assigning an older child to look out for a younger child in the playground. If the younger child feels any danger they have a person to approach who is responsible for helping them. The rules and designing of the system depends upon the school. The idea is to create a watchful, caring safety net for children.
Education children on their rights is crucial. They should know what is right and what is not. Children are taught to obey their elders or superiors, regardless of what they are being asked to do. This puts them in a very vulnerable state. Nobody can command them to do what is not right. Teach children about good touch and bad touch. Tell them that they have the right to say no. Teach them that their ‘no’ must be respected. Show them how they can save themselves.
Create an atmosphere of open communication within the school. Let children chatter freely with teachers, with head teachers and each other, sharing their fears and hopes. This is no guarantee that there will be no abuse in the school but healthy and open conversations can often identify potential flash points and early action can be taken to save children from harm.
This article has been inspired by and contains excerpts from Times of India blog. Read the original article here.