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FORUM OF SAFE SCHOOLS #FoSS

#FoSS is a forum of School establishment, regulatory bodies, Parent-teachers Associations, Law Associations, Judiciary bodies and Civil Societies. Varied senior-members from these above institutions joined this colloquial-body which is intending to design and develop policies and programs to protect and safeguard school-children from all forms of atrocities and sexual harassments and life-threatening situations.

FoSS is a shOObh Group Welfare Society initiative. 

Shaping Safe School

Schools today serve as a place to play, research, innovate, interact, grow and learn; it is no more a place for only academics, it is a place to learn about how to successfully fit in to the world that we live in – and more importantly the entire premise of Schools revolve around safety and security of the learners, while delivering all that.

When we talk about safety in schools, it encompasses everything that a School should be looking into – corporate punishment, any kind of abuse or harassment, anti-bullying, cyber-crime, transport safety, fire safety, disaster management, medical facilities etc. Schools determine what their needs are in creating a safer haven for its learners; from what resources should be use, and how best to support their student and teaching community… all as part of the School’s efforts to establish a safe and conducive environment.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to implementing a safety protocol which can be termed as the most effective Safe School. Such Safe Schools are created only when Schools choose from a range of evidence-based and age-appropriate information, resources and professional training to help empower their staff and their students in preventing and responding to any situation that arises.

The key word here is- Empowering individuals (children, teachers, staff, parents and community members) with knowledge and information that would help create a safer and more inclusive learning environment. This may involve a review of school policies, practices and professional development for school staff, and establishing student empowerment groups and parent led groups, parent orientations/parenting sessions by inviting resource personals from various fields to organize, practice preventive measures for strengthening safety protocols, which include:

  • responding to bullying incidents, and incidents of any kind of abuse or harassment
  • adopting a whole-school approach to preventing discrimination, harassment and bullying via various committees led by students, teachers and parents.
  • setting up and developing student-led activities to create positive, inclusive change.
  • equipping other staff and students with skills and ideas for preventive measures.

Let’s just say a School does all of the above mentioned practices- Will it be right to say that no mishap would occur? Is it a guaranteed that nothing untoward would ever happen?

So what is the way forward, when nothing we do will be enough or fool proof?

As hard hitting as it may seem - values begin at home, Schools only re-iterate them… in no way it is passing-the-buck at the home front, it is just an observation towards self-realisation.The growing need for insatiable materialistic gains, instant gratification, complete lack of empathy, zero tolerance towards others-aren’t all these are a reflection of diminishing value system of the society.

 

Children are vulnerable and will remain so. Since children have to attend schools, the only other place where they spend time other than their homes for 8 hours a day, safety in schools has now become paramount. Schools cannot evade responsibility by saying they have installed closed-circuit cameras, have verified guards on duty, psychometric validated staff or RFIDs or any other technology led supervision, we need an ecosystem in place where every individual is responsibly aware, mentally equipped and emotionally strong and confident to prevent any mishap/unfortunate incident.

 

We need to look at the bigger picture or the deeper connections if we really want safe Schools, safe societies for our children. It begins with self-reflection…of who we are, what we want and how are getting it. Isnt it time that we all come together- Community and the Schools joining hands in instilling these value systems in creating a not just safe schools but safe societies for our children. That’s one sure way of progressive action in ensuring that our Schools stay incident free…

Supriti Chauhan

Principal

Raghav Global School, Noida



 

SOW THE RIGHT SEEDS IN A CHILD'S MIND

 

While I wait for the boarding to start at the Delhi airport, my instinctive mind rolled on to a little toddler sitting by my side unperturbed by the hustle and bustle of the fellow travellers. Hooked into the mobile screen. He must have been 4 years old.

 

I was amazed how interestingly the child was digging into the bollywood songs on the youtube. The most inappropriate videos and the worst dance moves of a popular film was being watched, and down the list had the similar category of the most irritating lyrics further spoiled with gestures.

 

That sight remained clinged to me while flying off to my destination. I thought, broadly, out of the outward 5 senses, from a growing child's relevance, I categorise the first two in their order of importance. Let us understand.

 

  1. Vision- What we see has a deep impact on our subconscious mind which is nothing but a permanent receptor. The manifestation of thoughts, emotions and feelings happens from here. Hence the parents who think, it is completely fine for the child to watch anything at a younger age are higly mistaken. No wonder kids are knowing more than their age, imitating wrong actions and missing on the natural innocence. It is therefore imperative to say “sow the right seeds in a child's mind”. The schools too have a very important role here. The annual functions should discourage item songs and the similar material. There is nothing visually great about making kids dance on peppy rappers.

 

  1. Hear- Hear and vision compliment each other. It is very essential to know what the child hears. Language plays the most crucial role in the child's personality. Abusive words, abusive actions, inappropriate stories, lyrics have a deep impact on the child's mind and consciousness. Hence, the parents who feel proud to hear all the no – sense songs and dances have nothing to feel proud of. It should be a wake up call for them, that their child' creative ability and the natural sense of distinguishing between the right and wrong is at stake.

 

In this context, I would like to add that as parents, our careers, social position and the economic value is of no use if your own child at home is misusing these two senses most inappropriately. It is therefore right to say, “you are known by your own child”.

 

You can be the most successful person outside,yet if the child at home is left to the technology unattended and unfiltered, there can be no higher dichotomy and irony in the child's flowering process!

 

Meenu Chopra

Life Coach, Gurgaon



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