A new kind of rigorous education is now a must for all children as well, maybe from the very moment they learn to understand the word “safety”. It is not only the parents’ responsibility to make sure their child is safe but also the duty of the school that we equip the minds of our children to do everything in their power to protect themselves from the monsters that roam in society. We spoke to Kavita Sanghvi, Principal, MET Rishikul Vidyalaya and Top 50 finalist for the Global Teacher Prize 2017 to get her insights and advice on this sensitive and important topic. Here are the excerpts:
What do you think is required to ramp up safety in schools?
1. Profiles very clearly outlined to all so that every stakeholder is aware of their roles and responsibilities
2. Regular monitoring and recording
3. Work closely with parents and earn their support and trust
What measures has your school has taken to enhance protection of students?
1. Informed parents of our safety measures
2. Took a meeting with staff members on child protection policy again and their need to look into every aspect of the class students
3. Recording of regular inspection by school safety officer
4. PCC of male staff members
How do you impart sex education to students in your school?
1. Through regular sessions by school counsellor
2. Expert talk for students like gynaecologist, psychologists, sexologist from outside.
Do you think mobile phones should be banned in schools? There are 2 sides to it- no. 1 - parents can be in touch with their children but at the same time it can be misused by children. How would you tackle that?
In the higher classes we allow students to bring in mobile, deposit it with their class teacher during classes and use it once the classes are over.
Is there someone who "owns" school safety as a major part of his or her job, who is the "go-to person" when something happens or when a policy question arises?
Our school counsellor attends to all our students’ psychological needs and our Administrative Head looks at physical infrastructure monitoring.
How students are taught safety procedures?
We have regular sessions by school personnel on this:
1. Natural disaster safety measures like fire, earthquakes conducted by experts
2. Physical safety conducted by class teacher and counsellor
Are there anti-bullying programs in place?
We call for experts in the field to talk to students. Last year we did a two day boot camp with secondary students for the same.
How do you involve parents in prevention efforts?
Build a bond with them where trust reigns supreme.
Have regular meetings with PTA, give them some portfolios to handle and then support each other.
Are the coordinators, bus drivers and other staff well versed in conflict prevention and resolution?
Yes. Regular meetings with them help. Same points need to be reinforced on a regular basis.
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