Bullying, embarrassments, harassment, and even crime happened again. They occurred here, in our own schools in Indonesia. Sadly, some of them happened during school hours and make parents wonder what schools have done to protect their children.
Well, I wrote this article on The Jakarta Post in April 2014 to help parents to find their children a so-called safe school. A place to trust to educate and nurture their jewels. A place to be called a second home.
THE QUEST FOR A SAFE SCHOOL
Mierza Miranti for the Jakarta Post
With the new school year looming, now is the time for most parents in Indonesia to search for the best schools for their children. The issue of school safety has given parents an extra item on their checklist on how to find a safe and supportive school environment, particularly following reports of sexual abuse at prestigious school in Jakarta.
As supervision shifts from home to school at certain periods of time, parents certainly do not want their children to worry about their own safety as it may affect the learning process. Thus, as a teacher who has been teaching at international schools for years and enrolling her children in the same place, I have put together a checklist for parents to go through before making any decision.
First, come to the school’s open house. Use the opportunity to observe teachers’ interaction with their students and how they manage their behavior.
Yet, if students are not involved in the program, parents can inspect the school’s physical surroundings as a start. See whether it is a school that can ensure hygiene as well as handle vandalism.
Yet, since it is a marketing program, it would be wise to only use it merely to narrow down the choices. Additional school visits are strongly suggested with regards to making the best decision.
Second, at the next school visit, find out how the school supervises their students during learning periods. A safe school might have two options: duty roster arrangements or a CCTV monitoring system.
If it is based on roster, ask for the contingency plan if the person-on-duty is absent. Seek clarification if one happens to see a group or lone student passing through an empty hall with no supervision.
Yet, if the school uses CCTV, parents can ask whether the screen is fully supervised or not because, if the CCTV is intended to “spot” a fault it has failed its control function — especially when it is not combined with the teacher roster.
Second, observe the interactions between those at the school. The best time to do this is before and during recess. Visitors can observe whether the staff and students are engaged and respectful.