All children deserve to feel safe when they go to school, whether they are in elementary schools, high schools, or university tuition agencies. After all, our children are precious to us, and their academic progress should be expertly cultivated, and educators should provide the kind of opportunity and environment best suited for their success. To ensure their success, educational institutes have an obligation to take note of certain risks and dangers to their students. Such dangers include targeted harassment, bullying, verbal abuse, and even physical punishment in the classroom. These experiences can create damaging roadblocks in a student’s progress that are detrimental to both their physical and mental well-being, even causing more severe effects such as suicidality, acute anxiety disorders, and major depression.
The responsibility of educational institutes to inform their educators on these relevant issues of child safety can mean the difference between a student falling behind and a student being allowed to thrive. But how can educational institutes go about spreading child-protection awareness?
Working with humanitarian agencies
One effective way institutes can help spread child protection awareness is by working with humanitarian agencies like UNICEF. These agencies have extensive experience when it comes to preserving human rights. Additionally, these agencies are well known and more people are liable to listen to awareness programs and initiatives taken if they are coming from a specific agency.
Some ways these agencies can help create positive changes for children are:
- Adopting codes of conduct that safeguard children’s safety rather than concentrating solely on discipline.
- Setting up confidential methods of reporting harassment.
- Training teachers and staff on how to manage classrooms and screen for mental health issues in the classroom.
- Make amendments to codes of conduct and discipline practices based on current research and statistics rather than relying on outdated information.
Teaching internet safety
It is not enough for educators to only manage abuse within school walls; it is also vital to recognize the seriousness of abuses that may be occurring elsewhere, seemingly out of the purview of teachers and staff. Sadly, most of the targeted aggression that young people face is perpetrated without teachers and staff ever knowing about it. Since social media permeates every aspect of young people’s lives, institutions should always be striving to bridge the gap between home and school.
The most significant threats to children’s mental health usually come in the form of online cruelty and bullying, which is why parents should take a more active role in their child’s education so that they can bring serious issues to their child’s teacher’s attention. In this way, child protection is a community responsibility as well as an institutional one.
Parents and educators should explain in detail which specific parts of the internet come with higher risk. For example, live streaming can put children at risk since bullying can be done anonymously and without accountability. Suppose something does happen online that causes an issue. In that case, teachers should be made aware of the situation, so they can do everything within their power to mitigate any emotional or social distress.
Working with the government
Educational institutes can work with their local government to develop programs and initiatives that help spread child protection awareness. Typically, such schools and institutions tend to be underfunded, so working with the government can help get past this obstacle. Child-protection awareness programs can help educate and correct online safety and wellness misinformation. These events can also be attended by prominent members of academia, civil servants, and those in administrative positions. People in such positions are more readily able to influence policy making and decisions that affect children directly.
Pressuring federal agencies for more change
There are still many governments that have not yet created departments focused on child protection. Such tasks are usually handed to departments that deal with more grave crimes while overlooking incidents like bullying and harassment. Parents and children can pressure them to make changes and take child protection seriously, but institutional involvement can create greater change at the school level. Moreover, those institutions can rally people behind a united cause, gradually forcing governments to take notice and effect larger-scale change.
An open and inclusive environment is vital to ensuring children receive the best education possible. Educational institutions should always be striving to accommodate and advocate for the comfort and safety of their students. Most importantly, students should consistently feel like they are in a safe space where they can discuss issues affecting their wellbeing. Educational institutions can also work alongside humanitarian agencies and governments to create campaigns that help foster compassion and sensitivity. By combining these elements, we can ensure our children have the conditions necessary to facilitate their education and support their wellbeing, in the classroom and beyond.