Is your child safe at school? What you should know about school safety?

GIIS communications team
Dec 21, 2020
Child Care Tips

Every morning, you usher your children to go to school and leave them in the care of their teachers.  However, the schools are taking care of your child's emotional development, academics, and extracurriculars. But, what policies have they laid down to ensure the physical safety and security of the child?

Have you asked yourself, “what is a safe school environment”? How safe are your children in school? What are the child safety measures in school, and how is the school ensuring that your child comes home safe? These are factors that you should consider before enrolling your child in any educational institution. Every country has a mandatory policy that each school adopts to ensure both staff and children’s safety.

Here are the safety guidelines that are followed across most international schools in Kuala Lumpur:

Child safety in school: Policies

The most basic answer to what safety measures should be taken in school is having clear policies regarding child safety. Regardless of the school district, every school needs to have a clear and detailed safety policy. The policy is updated regularly to accommodate any new hazards. It goes through regular inspection by local authorities and achieves certification each time. The policy should be known to the fraternity members and be accessible to everyone in the school’s common areas. A safety policy should include ways to handle disasters and how to deal with student issues. It also lays out a clear path of what personnel are needed to ensure it is actionable.

Restricted access to non-fraternity members

The internet of things has made it easier to do daily activities. It can also be a means of making you and your child safer. Determining who can access different areas of the complex is one way of ensuring safety. Biometric entry and facial recognition have made it easier to secure children, as with international schools in Kuala Lumpur. Each child receives an identity card, which allows them entry to different areas of the school.

Firefighting equipment

Each school is required to have emergency firefighting equipment onsite. The equipment should be easily accessible and in good working order. The school appoints fire marshalls from the staff and students as well, depending on the education levels. For example, a school that offers KG1 to the secondary school level has marshals from each grade. The younger students are under the care of their teachers. Equipment should include:

● Fire extinguishers to fight all types of fires.

● Fire hydrants at specific high-risk areas.

● A fire sprinkler system.

● Fire alarm points at regular distances across the entire complex.

● Clear marking of fire escape routes to allow for easy evacuation.

● Fire assembly points at designated safe areas far from the building. These points allow for the school to conduct roll calls and identify any missing persons.

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Regular safety drills

Safety drills help in making everyone at the school prepared. Different locations experience different perils. Some mandatory routines are:

● Fire drills

Fire is the most common cause of endangerment to populations across the world. It is unpredictable and can cause damage quickly. Getting to know the escape routes and how to use the apparatus is your best chance of survival. Having these drills continually ensures that knowing what to do in such a situation comes as second nature.

● Lockdown drills

Unfortunately, some schools are in areas with a high crime rate. As is with the case of active shooters, knowing where to secure themselves can be the difference between survival and injury. These situations often involve high law enforcement activity, which can be very disorienting for faculty members. Regular lockdown drills help in keeping everyone calm and safe when faced with such a situation.

Other drills that can be part of the safety policy may include tornado drills, earthquake drills, and hurricane drills. Although not a common occurrence, these are vital in areas prone to such disasters.

Video monitoring

A few years ago, closed-circuit television monitoring was a nice-to-have feature. However, as technology keeps evolving, cheaper but effective monitoring methods are now available. Monitoring who is entering and leaving the premises sounds simplistic but can make the difference to your child’s safety at school. Schools are increasingly investing in this technology to help them better secure their members.

There is a raging debate on this level of monitoring, but the pros significantly outweigh the cons. Having cameras on entry and exit points helps with boosting a sense of security in everyone. For schools that still cannot afford the system, extra vigilance by security personnel on exit and entry to the premises is a priority.

Specialist staff and emergency medical equipment

The psychological well-being of both students and staff should also be part of the safety policy. It is especially true in the aftermath of traumatic events. School nurses, career counsellors, and social workers play a crucial role in employing school safety measures on campus. Your children may sometimes not feel comfortable sharing certain information for fear of reprimand. In this case, a counsellor works as a substitute and can help them cope with whatever they are facing.

School nurses act as first responders should your child fall ill or experience an injury. They know how to perform emergency procedures that can, later on, be alleviated by a specialist. The school should have within its supplies, well-stocked first aid kits. These come in handy in emergencies, faced by both staff and children. Other members of the teaching fraternity can attain certifications in procedures such as CPR, should the resident nurse or doctor be unavailable.

Explain school safety and security to your child

Practising specific emergency drills can sometimes have the opposite effect on your child. They become anxious and think the world is out to get them. Should this be the case, here are a few tips to help you manage the situation.

● Remind your child about the benefits of going through drills. Make them understand why school safety is important. Offer reassurance that conducting practice drills is for the safety of them, their peers, and their favourite teachers.

● Explain why certain situations happen. Be mindful of the language that you use. You can use visual aids that are fun to explain the complex facts. Cartoons and mascots will help your child relate more with the message.

● Ask them to demonstrate what they did during the drills. It will make them feel important and give them a chance to shine. You can also reward them when they do the routine well. Your child will understand the importance of school safety and the routine and embrace it.

● Open up to your child on why their safety is necessary. Gently explain your concerns and rationale behind supporting the program. Show them examples of the equipment around your house. These may include smoke detectors, burglar alarm, and fire extinguishers. If they see it at home, they will relate better with it at school.

No one can ever predict when a disaster will occur. However, having a plan helps you and your family better prepare to handle the situation. The school is where your child acquires the necessary life skills to help them with their future. Having a safe environment both at home and school allows your child to concentrate on the right actions when required. Enrolling your child in an institution that offers proper advice on school safety for students gives you much-needed peace of mind.

GIIS communications team

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