Ensuring Your Child’s Safety in School

Ensuring Your Child’s Safety in School

Today I host a special guest on my blog. She’s an author, a blogger and a mom. We first connected through her book We Will Meet Again, which I read and loved. We went on to bond over more books and of course parenting. Meet Tarang Sinha.
 
Tarang is a freelance writer and author of We Will Meet Again, a mature love story. Her writing has appeared in magazines like Good Housekeeping India, Child India, Woman’s Era, New Woman and Alive. Her short story, Dilemma, has been published in a bestselling anthology, Uff Ye Emotions 2Her supernatural short story, It Rained That Night, is available on Juggernaut Books. She is an avid reader and blogs @tarangsinha.blogspot.in.
The last few years have seen an alarming number of incidents where the safety of children in schools has been compromised. While the onus of ensuring that the school is a safe haven for each child remains on the authorities, Tarang here, talks about what we can do as parents to keep our child safe.

 

That day I wasn’t feeling well, so my husband went to pick our toddler from the play school. The school was within walking distance  – purposefully chosen. It was I who (dropped/) picked our child from the school every day. The teachers had never met my husband.

Although it was his father who was going to fetch our child, I was feeling jittery. How would the teacher’s react? Would they refuse to hand him over to my husband? They would definitely make a call to confirm. I thought.

After a few minutes, my husband got back with our happy child. I was disappointed and displeased. It was irresponsible of them! The next day I broached the question. The answer I received left me dumbfounded.

‘He looked like S’s father,’ the teacher said sheepishly.

I mean, really?

I changed the school.

The recent incident at Ryan International School is scary, heart-wrenching and infuriating! It seems there’s no order and security. A similar case was reported (in a different wing of the same school) last year too.

School is a place where children spend a large part of their day, so it is very important to ensure that they’re in safe and responsible hands. Apart from government initiatives and efforts by schools, we, parents, need to be alert and aware about our child’s safety.

Tight security

It’s important to check if the school has a good level of security system. The current school my son goes to, issues two guardian’s identity cards and it is mandatory to show up with that card at the time of dispersal.

Observe if the security guard questions strangers entering the premises.

Verified Staff

Security guards and ayahs should be skilled, caring and verified. Check if your school gets their police verification done.

Safe transport service

This is a thing I dread the most, sending children to school in the school bus. It is convenient, I know, but parents should keep a few things in mind when using school bus for transportation:

  • Trained (and at least one female) attendants on the bus.
  • You must have the name and phone number of the driver/conductor
  • The driver/attendant must have parent’s record with phone numbers
  • You must have the number of the vehicle

Making Your Child Aware

‘He who knows others is wise; who knows himself is enlightened: Lao Tzu’ Click To Tweet

Your child stays away from your doting arms and anxious eyes for a long time. It is important for him to be independent and aware.

  • Make her/him aware of good touch and bad touch
  • Encourage him to share. Talk. Ask about his day in school every single day, no matter how busy you are.
  • Teach him how to behave; how arrogance and violence are unbecoming.

For Child’s Mental and Emotional Well Being

There are several cases where children experience mental/emotional torture in schools but they hesitate to share it, maybe because of fear or shame, or lack of openness from parents. Keep a watchful eye for any striking changes (they may turn into a recluse or may behave aggressively) in your child’s behavior.

If you notice any sudden change in his behaviour, talk to him/her. Do not hesitate to discuss your concern with your child’s class teacher or even the principal. Notice if they’re friendly and approachable.

Possible causes for mental trauma

  • Abusive behaviour of teachers or any other school staff
  • Sexual harassment
  • Bullying

Communicate with you child

  • Never avoid if he says something objectionable about the school/staff/schoolmates.
  • In the parent-teacher meeting don’t just talk about your child’s academic improvement. Mention if you have any concern regarding school management.
  • Show your interest in your child’s friends. Talk to them when they visit. It’s not just about courtesy. You must know who your child’s friends are.

Tips to make your child comfortable so that he/she doesn’t hesitate to share his/her feelings

  • Don’t pester him with your urgency. Give him some time but watch him silently.
  • Keep your tone and approach friendly. Being stern would create a distance.
  • Share your own childhood stories and tell him how you made some silly mistakes. It will encourage him to open up.
  • Agree with his thoughts for now. Make him understand later.

***********

Have you ever faced issues with security at your child’s school? What did you do? Share with us.

 

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43 Replies to “Ensuring Your Child’s Safety in School”

  1. Oh my God! I can’t believe that they would hand over the kid to someone who they thought ‘looked like’ the father. Scary! Good you changed the school. Our kids deserve better security arrangements.

  2. loved your tips on how to be friendly and approachable … with the increase in the incidents, we need to ensure measures both internal as well as external are in place…. making sure that the schools and transport systems are following safe practices along with keeping our children aware of safety measures are so important …

  3. My son is 2 and has just started play school. Sleep time when the lights are off we go over our day . It helps calm him down to recount what he did, and this is also when I pick up on small clues ‘ pushing him’ ‘ up up and fall down’ simple phrases but it helps me understand him . I hope to keep the lines of conversation always open with him.

  4. We faced a simialr situation when my husband had to pick my daughter for the first time. The staff clearly instructed that he must have the ID provided else my daughter will not be handed over. I was so happy. it reconfirms my faith in the school i chose, and your list is perfect for all parents who are constantly worried

  5. I like how you think and pretty much agree with what you said. You questioning back and the school saying he looked like the father, is indeed a very callous attitude.

  6. A great post by Tarang. It is really sad and scary at the same time. If a child is not safe at the school, where is he safe? When we hear such incidents, it makes us wonder the security at all such places where our kids go. Its time to take some strict actions.

  7. The occurrences these days are really scary. Though my daughter is going to a nearby playschool, I cannot help but push away such thoughts. It’s becoming challenging whom to trust. I will definitely keep the above points in mind. More than the schools, it’s the responsibility of the parents to take care of their child, to make them aware of the basic and important things around them. Thanks for the post 🙂 Cheers!

  8. Those are great tips on doing our part as parents. While the school has a greater responsibility when the kids are with them, as parents we need to make sure we are careful and take steps in the right direction

  9. My kids are older but still vulnerable. I spend time talking with them about non school activities. Then they start talking..as parents, we should question the school on everything.

  10. I know of a school in my city who have issued GPS enabled cards to parents ad their wards. The parents know instantly when the child has reached the school or taken up the bus while returning from school.
    Such initiatives are welcome as far as kid security is concerned.
    Thanks for this insightful post.

    1. That’s a great idea. The twins’ school also started something like this, we got an sms when they reached school or boarded the bus but then it stopped. It didn’t work I believe.

  11. My daughter is 3yo and whenever she comes back from her school, I make sure that I talk to her about her day spent in the school. And she does try to communicate things happened during the day. This communication is very important between a parent and a child. All other points that you have mentioned above are very important and should not be overlooked at any cost.

    1. That’s a great idea Neha. My twins are 11 and I still enjoy the after school chats, though increasingly they are leaving me out and talking only with each other. Even that’s fun to watch.

  12. M doesn’t even go to school yet but I’m scared already. Who are these people who harm innocent children? Why do they do this?
    Some very pertinent and important points here, Tarang.
    I’ll come back to this time and again, I know.

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