Our children spend a good deal of their time in schools. Hence, it is very important that the school is a safe space for them. There are times when a child is abused in the school and tries to talk about it to someone from the school staff, but, because the staff lacks the knowledge and skills to respond to such cases or operates from a place of taboo, the child is hushed up or is socialized to believe that sexual abuse is a part of growing up and children eventually forget about it. We also hear about children harming other children in the school set up. It is time that rather than being reactive when there is a crisis, we start working with the school in creating a safe environment by empowering the school staff and children as well as by devising protocols to effectively respond to disclosure and provide healing support to children who are abused as well as to children who harm others. Take a moment and ponder upon the following:
- Does your child’s school have a Parents Teachers Association (PTA)? Is it functional and efficient? If not, start one today.
- Does your child’s school have a Child Protection Policy that talks about ways to keep children safe in school premises? If not, initiate the process.
- Have you started conversing with your child about personal safety? If not, start now.
Through the PTA, please encourage the schools to conduct Personal Safety Education (PSE) with children, teachers and service staff. So that children learn about setting boundaries and respecting boundaries – of one’s as well as others, are empathetic and compassionate. So that teachers and the non-teaching staff are equipped to prevent sexual abuse and effectively handle disclosures from children. To know more about child safety and make your child’s school safe, visit www.arpan.org.in or you can make your child take the online Personal Safety course at www.arpanelearn.com
Let’s not wait to react and blame the school for lapses on child protection when there is a crisis. This will not ensure the safety of our child. Let us proactively work with the schools to make them safe.
Please call our helpline 9819086444 or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org to know how we can work together in creating a safe school and a safe society.