How we support your child at school
It is important that parents look at what schools are doing to safeguard their children. Yes, there are requirements met by the Occupational Health and Safety Act, but the days when ensuring that sufficient fire hydrants and testing the fire/bomb alarm were considered safe guarding children is long gone. Yes, these things are important, but the world our children are growing up in, has changed and is constantly changing, becoming more dangerous, and so the protection of children in schools needs to remain relevant. Removing a cell phone from a child because the school is of the opinion that no access means safety is like burying your head in the sand. (This applies mainly to high school.) I would also agree with the thinking of most schools, that the safety of children is absolutely the responsibility of the parents, but schools can take proactive measures to ensure that children are safer when in their care. Schools also need to take cognizance of the fact that, in today’s techno savvy world, much of what happens at school continues at home through cell phones, tablets etc…
Basic questions parents should be asking schools
- Does the school ensure all staff and services providers are cleared against the Sexual Offences and Child Protection register at least once every 24 months?
- Does the school have effective cell phone policies? And what are they?
- Does the school have drug policies? And what are they?
- What is the school’s stance on relationships between teachers and learners, in both the real world and the cyber world? (ie can learners and staff be facebook friends?)
- Does the school have an anonymous reporting system which will allow learners to disclose information anonymously about themselves and friends to get the help needed? This is extremely important because, all too often, when an investigation is done into the circumstances leading up to a child being hurt, whether they have hurt themselves or have been hurt by another, there was a friend who knew it was going to happen, was happening or felt that something wasn’t right but had nowhere to turn for fear of being labeled a snitch.
- What education are the children in the school receiving about potential dangers they may face. (Some schools feel that dealing with this in LO is enough)