Child Protection Policy

 

 Responsibility:

Campus Principal, Stages Principals, Vice-Principals, Student Counsellors and monitors.

Rationale:

Following Al-Bassam Schools’ vision and mission to promote a safe environment, the main responsibilities of the school in general are to provide the necessary protection for all students at their different levels. Safety is a human need instilled by Allah Almighty in the humans. Psychologists in general, and social psychologists in particular such as Abraham Maslow referred to this need in  Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, when he mentioned the importance of providing safety to humans as an innate need comes in the second degree after satisfying the basic “physiological” needs. The literature review on the protection of children suggests that there are indicators threatening students in their schools as a result of several factors either political, economic, social … etc. This has forced school principals to pay great attention to protecting students from risk as a top priority like teaching and learning process.

After reviewing some resources about students’ threats, they clearly show that there are many forms of student abuse, such as physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse … etc., which requires the school to find preventive and remedial programs to enable students to learn in a healthy environment.

Also, understanding how a person is doing harm to students in one form of abuse is essential to building preventive programs to avoid doing so. If so, remedial programs become an urgent need to rehabilitate students who have been abused.

In our operational definition to the child protection, we refer to the strategies our schools use to defend or mitigate the vulnerability or feeling of our students individually or in groups with one form of abuse. Social scientists tell us there are two different types of child offenders, typically categorized as situational or preferential.  The situational predator is often one who can be impulsive, seeks targets of opportunity, and because they can be sexually indiscriminate, may go after boys or girls.  Some examples of a situational predator operating in a school environment could be the “stranger lurking” outside of the campus or a temporary contractor working on campus, both waiting for the opportunity to approach an unaccompanied student.

The preferential offender, on the other hand, is often a master manipulator and may lay in wait for a particularly vulnerable child who can be groomed (either in person or online) and manipulated prior to engaging in abuse.  This predator is typically more intelligent and compulsive.  In a school environment this could be a teacher, an administrator, a chaperone on an off-campus trip, or even a parent.

Once schools accept the fact that they all face the potential threat from predators and understand this threat can be in different forms, then they can develop comprehensive solutions to prevent or mitigate the threat.  Since neither the situational or preferential child sex offender is easy to spot or identify, any comprehensive Child Protection Program must begin with vigilance. Our schools are working hard to provide maximum protection to all our students.

Purpose:

Providing the necessary protection for all school students from any possible/suspected abuse.

Objectives:

Child Protection Policy aims at achieving the following objectives:

1. Publishing all forms of abuse which threaten students in order to protect them.

2. Providing a set of effective guidelines to protect students at their different levels.

3. Applying laws and regulations which protect students.

4. Clarifying and publishing procedures of reporting any abuse may be suffered by students of the school.

5.  Clarifying and publishing reporting procedures to investigate all forms of student abuse.

6. Clarifying and publishing the effects and consequences of abuse on students.

Child Abuse Forms:

It is the goal of Al-Bassam Schools to maintain a school environment for all students free from abuse.  No Al-Bassam Schools’ employee may engage in any activity constituting abuse.  It is intended that this policy will apply to all employees of Al-Bassam Schools. All employees must report to the Campus Principal, Stages Principals or Vice-Principals for any suspected abuse either in or out of school.

Abuse is described as inappropriate behavior of an adult toward Al-Bassam Schools’ student. The following factors will be considered when determining whether abuse happened or not. Thy are as follows:

1. Physical Abuse – Physical injury inflicted by other than accidental means upon a student by another person and includes willful cruelty or willful infliction of pain.

2. Sexual abuse – Sexual assault or exploitation of a student.

3. Emotional abuse – This includes the use of threats, intimidation, acts of injustice and indignity by verbal or physical means or using racism words or phrases related to race, color, religion inconsistent with the Islamic values, or a violation of the customs and traditions of Saudi society.

4. Digital abuse: This includes exploitation of students through social media for illegal purposes.

Policy Reference:

Al-Bassam Schools Child Protection Policy is based on our Islamic Beliefs and on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child of which Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a signatory. The two key articles we wish to draw your attention to are:

Article 19 – Protection from abuse and neglect

The State shall protect the child from all forms of maltreatment by parents or others responsible for the care of the child and establish appropriate social programs for the prevention of abuse and the treatment of victims.

Article 34 – Sexual exploitation

The State shall protect children from sexual exploitation and abuse, including prostitution and involvement in pornography.

By enrolling your child at Al-Bassam Schools, you agree to work in partnership with the school and abide by the policies adopted by the school Board. All of us at Al-Bassam Schools want you to know that we really appreciate our partnership with you in providing your children with safety and care. Consequently, Al-Bassam Schools have endorsed the Child Protection Policy that defines the standards.

Directions: (Child Protection Procedures)

Al Bassam Schools provide a set of effective guidelines to protect all students through the following procedures:

1. Providing robust physical security program (i.e. fences, gates and locks) including access control policies and procedures as well as security guards who prevent unauthorized access to schools using electronic systems and surveillance cameras for premises protection.

2. Conducting vigorous pre-employment screening for all personnel who have unsupervised access to students.  This includes not just teachers and administrators, but also contract and subcontract workers, service personnel, as well as temporary and volunteer staff who may have unsupervised access to students.

3. Implementing psychological and educational counseling and guidance programs through psychological counselors, which ensure the provision of a preventive dimension to the problems that may be exposed to students each according to the developmental stage. Also, encouraging students to report any abuse they may face in or out of the school to the Campus Principal, Vice-Principals or psychological and educational counselor.

4. Training for teachers and staff so they can recognize offender traits and behaviors, as well as signs of at risk children and the appropriate actions to take.

5. Training Vice-Principals to investigate all allegations of abuse and exploitation of students if they appear using the Code of Conduct for school staff and the Code of Conduct for Students.

6. Developing procedures to ensure that any irregular behavior that students may encounter from any party is reported, so that the Campus Principal is directly responsible for such reporting.

7. Developing professional relationships with security authorities that may help prevent any potential threats to school students.

8. Training all staff to understand and implement all policies that ensure the knowledge and awareness of all stakeholders widely through the means of communication available in the school community.

9. Maintaining continuous communication between the school and the parents regarding any developments related to their protection requirements, through scheduled meetings.

10. Documenting all cases of student abuse in the school official documents and keeping them confidential.

11. Activating the psychological and educational counseling system, which ensures protecting and empowering students to resist any threats or fears that may lead to abuse through theories of psychological and educational counseling.

12. Publishing the emergency phone number of student protection (116111) according to the National Family Safety Program 2017.

Implementation Procedures:

)Preventive Steps and Regulations of Child Protection(

Al Bassam Schools work hard to implement  Preventive Steps and Regulations of Child Protection as follows:

1. Al-Bassam Schools will foster a climate of “freedom to tell” with the recognition that abuse could take place at the school.

2. Abuse prevention training in all its forms is mandatory for Al Bassam schools’ faculty and staff.

3. Al-Bassam Schools employees should never use phone calls, texting, social media, students photographing, e-mails, or any similar technology to have one-on-one private communication with students for non-school related matters.

4. Al-Bassam Schools employees should not be socializing with students off campus without approval of the student’s parents.

5. School sponsored trips will have male chaperone for boys and female chaperone for girls approved by the stage principal.

6. Al-Bassam Schools employees should be very cautious concerning counseling students about sensitive issues. The question should be asked:  Is that staff member the best person to be counseling that student?

7. The Campus Principal should be aware of any counseling that is going on regarding abuse, as well as the parent.

8. Al-Bassam Schools employees should never agree to or suggest that confidential discussions be kept from school officials or parents when involving potential abuse.

9. Al-Bassam Schools employees are required to inform the Campus Principal, Vice-Principals or stages principals of any violations of the above policies and regulations that they observe or otherwise have a reasonable basis to suspect.

10. Al-Bassam Schools employees who violate any of these regulations will at a minimum be officially reprimanded in writing.  This will take place in a meeting involving Campus Principal, Vice-Principals or stages principals. The first offense may lead to immediate termination depending on the circumstances.

11. Al-Bassam Schools employee who is involved or accused of abuse will immediately be removed from any contact with students and the situation will be quickly and thoroughly investigated by the school administration and board of directors.  If the employee is convicted, this will lead to immediate termination.

Discovery and Reporting:

The process of discovering and reporting student abuse is as follows:

1. All Al-Bassam School employees share a collective responsibility for the safety of Al-Bassam Schools’ students.

2. All employees are mandated to report suspected abuse to the Campus Principal, Vice-Principals or stages principals stating the name of the reporter explicitly.

3. Reports should be made as soon as possible after observing or reasonably suspecting abuse based on previous reporting or a suspected suspicion of abuse to the school’s principal or to his/her representative by the first person to monitor the abuse case.

4. The school administration will inform the authorities of any suspicion of child abuse as required by law.

Investigation:

The investigation process has been implemented based on the following procedures:

1. The school shall protect any person, whether a school employee or a student who reports potential abuse to the school students by all available means, provided that the name of the amount of the abuse is known to the school administration.

2. Stage Principals or counsellors will forward report to the Campus Principal to take the required action.

3. The Campus Principal shall, in consultation with the chairman of the educational council, determine who will lead the investigation. The investigator will then conduct a prompt, confidential and thorough investigation to determine whether there are reasonable grounds to believe that the abuse and abuse occurred. A written report will be submitted to the Campus Principal as soon as possible to take the necessary action.

Consequences:

The following effects and consequences are likely to result in student abuse:

1. If the investigation indicates that there are no reasonable grounds to support the allegations of abuse, the school principal will provide a statement to that effect to the school officer concerned.

2. If inappropriate conduct exists, but it is neither ill-treatment nor harm, the perpetrator of such conduct will be subject to appropriate disciplinary consequences in accordance with the laws and regulations of Al-Bassam Schools.

3. If the investigation indicates that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the abuse and abuse occurred, the Campus Principal will provide a copy to the President of the Education Council to approve the decision.

4. The president of the educational council and the school council shall determine the appropriate disciplinary action, which could result in immediate termination of employment.

Conclusion:

What does a Child Protection Policy mean for Al Bassam Schools community in Saudi Arabia? Al Bassam schools are defining a standard for the treatment of all students at their different levels – that they be treated with respect and dignity at all times. Students have legal and moral rights to their individuality, that when protected, will develop into the ability to meet the needs of the family, community, and global society. Child protection standards defined by Al-Bassam Schools encompass all Saudi laws and standards as well as the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, adopted and opened for signature, ratification and accession by General Assembly resolution 44/25 of 20 November 1989 and entry into force 2 September 1990, in accordance with article 49. When given reasonable cause to believe that these rights are violated, Al-Bassam Schools will seek all available resources to restore those rights.

Policy Resources:

* Amnesty International Unofficial Summary of the UN Rights Convention of the * Child:

http://www.amnestyusa.org/convention-on-the-rights-of-the-child/unofficial-summary/

page.do?id=1101782&n1=3&n2=78&n3=1272

* Actual Convention on the Rights of the Child:

http://www.crin.org/docs/resources/treaties/uncrc.asp#Nineteen