Child Protection Policy enhances safety and security

This school year, Sacred Heart developed a Child Protection Policy, in order to provide a safe community for teachers, staff, and students by informing them about common societal problems such as child abuse, self-harm, and suicide.

Haruka, Editor

This school year, Sacred Heart developed a Child Protection Policy, in order to provide a safe community for teachers, staff, and students by informing them about common societal problems such as child abuse, self-harm, and suicide.

It took a year of weekly meetings consisting of administrators, principals, the headmistress, and faculty representatives from high school, middle school, junior school, and kindergarten to construct the policy. After the first draft was completed, the committee presented it to Mrs. Hitchens, who provided support from her expertise as a psychologist. Moreover, the committee asked for input from the Parent Advisory Committee. The policy has been established; however, revisions will be made if needed.

Child abuse cases in other schools were the main reason for the development of this policy. The policy states that its main aim is to provide “a safe haven for students who may be experiencing abuse or neglect in any aspect of their lives.”

Ms. Young, the high school principal said, “Traditional schools, like Sacred Heart, have a long history with all values firmly rooted in the philosophy and goals of the Sacred Heart. Therefore, we wanted new teachers, in-coming parents, and faculty members to acknowledge the values and rules that we have set. As for the students, we wanted our girls to know that there is nothing they can’t talk about and communicate to faculty and counselors about.”

Ms. O’Neill, the junior school principal said, “We plan to adopt a program for students to teach them that they have the right to feel safe.” The school plans to start a personal safety program in grades K~12. This will be accomplished by training personal education teachers and K~6 homeroom teachers on how to inform children about child abuse, self-harm, and suicide.

This policy includes what teachers and students should do when they suspect child abuse, and actions to take if a third party reports a possible incident of abuse. Furthermore, Sacred Heart has constructed a core response team consisting of the principal, the school nurse, and the personal counselor. This response team will handle each incident case by case and determine what the best course of action is. Ms. Young emphasizes the importance of this response team, “Nobody should deal in isolation with any issues like this. You have to have the support of people with expertise in different areas.”

All faculty and staff members were required to sign a code of conduct agreeing to the written policy.

In September, Sacred Heart held a meeting for parents to inform them the main points and the importance of the Child Protection Policy. The policy is also accessible on the school’s website.

A child at school.
Photo Credit: Pixabay