Our previous article, 9 Tips For Parents To Keep Their Children Safe From Sexual Predators, focuses on what parents can do to protect their children from sexual predators. But parents alone are not responsible for their children’s safety, it is also the duty of school administrators(principals) to make school a safer place for children.
Here are few tips for principals to make their schools safer places for children.
1. Conduct Sexual-Abuse Awareness Program For Staff Members
Conduct a training program for all the staff members of your school to create awareness about the possibility of sexual abuse in the school and how they must deal with a reported incident of abuse and the child that has been abused as well. Let them know that any incident of sexual abuse that is reported to them is a grave matter and is not to be treated or taken lightly. Sensitize them to the delicacy of the situation, so that they may not make unfeeling or crude comments when an incident is reported to them.
2. Form An Anti Sexual-Abuse Committee
Form an anti sexual-abuse committee consisting of teachers, parents and students from higher classes as volunteers. The volunteers of this committee should always be accessible by students, so that they students may feel comofortable talking to them, in case something untoward happens.
3. Set Up Distinct Guidelines To Report Sexual Abuse
Draw up a firm set of guidelines to report any incident of sexual abuse, so that students know there is a way to do so if they want to. If students do not feel comfortable in reporting the incident, let them know that they can always talk to their teacher or counselor about it. Assure them that the details of the incident will be confidential and they will not face any trouble if they share their problem with the committee or their teacher. Be open to reports from your students, do not be judgmental. Conduct necessary investigations before coming to any conclusions.
4. Do Appropriate Screening And Background Checks Before Recruiting School Staff
As a principal, it is your responsibility to know about both the teaching and the non-teaching staff of your school. Conduct background checks before recruiting any staff member. If any staff member is found guilty or involved in any criminal activity, do not take the risk of giving him/her another chance. Remember that your primary duty is to protect your students.
5. Set Up Rigid Policies And Procedures For Sexual Abuse In The School Premises
Before the school year starts, make sure that there are firm policies set up with regards to punishment for any act of sexual abuse by any member of the school staff. Let everyone in the school know about these policies. You can also use posters with rules and policies against sexual abuse and put them up all over school to create awareness about these policies.
6. Install Surveillance Cameras In And Around The School Compound
Install CCTV cameras in your school. Make sure that every classroom and corridor has these CCTV cameras installed and are always turned on. Having CCTV cameras minimizes the possibility of occurrence of crime. The footage from the camera can also act as the prime evidence if any incident is reported.
As a principal, it is your prime duty to keep your students safe at school. The above tips help you ensure student safety to an extent. Feel free to review our tips and please share your suggestions in the comments section below!