New Delhi: The Bangalore school incident reinforces the need for greater measures to make schools safe for your child. Here is a quick ready reckoner for you to implement and share amongst parents and schools to ensure that your child is safe in school.
For most of the year, children spend more time at school than anywhere else other than their own home. At school, children need a secure, positive, and comfortable environment to help them learn.
In the Classroom
Kids need a safe and comfortable environment to learn to the best of their capabilities. This means they have to feel safe in their schools and be able to positively interact with their teachers and classmates. By doing the following, parents and other adults can help make sure children have a positive school experience.
– Talk to your children about their day. Sometimes children wonâ€™t tell you right away if they are having problems at school. Ask your children if they see anyone bullied, or harassed if they are bullied, or if anything else makes them feel uncomfortable. Look for warning signs, such as a sudden drop in grades, loss of friends, or torn clothing.
– Ask them on the behaviour of staffers in school and ensure that kids are educated not to go alone unless accompanied by the class teacher.
Insist through your school’s PTA or with constant interaction with the school authorities to check if there are CCTV’s installed and all school staffers are verified with proper back ground checks.
– Educate your children on good touch and bad touch and constantly reinforce this. If you have an older sibling in the school educate the kid to take extra care of the younger child while being in school and in the bus.
– Encourage your school to have a buddy system even in elementary classes where the kids are encouraged to ensure that the children stay in groups and any missing child is reported immediately to the teacher by other students.4
– As a parent you have a right and duty to ensure that you ask the school to ensure presence of more women security personnel and assistants in the school premises especially in and around toilets and areas which are less frequented.
– Keep an eye on your childrenâ€™s Internet use. Many elementary schools have computers with Internet access. Ask your childrenâ€™s school if students are monitored when they use the Internet or if there is a blocking device installed to prevent children from finding explicit websites. Talk to your children about what they do online â€“ what sites they visit, who they email, and who they chat with. Let them know they can talk to you if anything they see online makes them uncomfortable, whether itâ€™s an explicit website or a classmate bullying them or someone else through email, chat, or websites.
– Ask about the safety and emergency plans for your childrenâ€™s school. How are local police involved? How are students and parents involved? What emergencies have been considered and planned for?
Traveling To and From School
– Map out with your children a safe way for them to walk to school or to the bus stop. Avoid busy roads and intersections. Do a trial run with them to point out places they should avoid along the way, such as vacant lots, construction areas, and parks where there arenâ€™t many people.
– Encourage children to walk to school or the bus stop with a sibling or friend, and to wait at bus stops with other children.
– Teach children not to talk to strangers, go anywhere with them, or accept gifts from them without your permission. Tell them that if they see a suspicious stranger hanging around or in their school they should tell an adult.
– Help children memorize their phone number and full address, including area code and zip code. Write down other important phone numbers such as your work and cell phone on a card for your children to carry with them.
On the bus
– Be aware that often bullying or harassment canÂ take place on the school bus or a school transport. Ask children about their bus – who they sit with, who they talk to, and what the other kids do. Let them know that if they see someone being bullied, or are bullied themselves, they should report the matter to you or a teacher in school.