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Safeguarding

Safeguarding Policy

School adheres to the International School’s Partnership (“ISP”) Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy. This policy establishes the approach to safeguarding and child protection to ensure the safe and effective care of all students. It is recognized that safeguarding is broader than child protection, and includes the promotion of wellbeing, and taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes.

Safeguarding

“Safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children refers to the processes of protecting students from harm, preventing the impairment of their health and development, ensuring that we seek to improve the general health and well-being of all students in our care and enabling every student to have the optimum life chances and enter adulthood successfully.”

Child Protection

“Child Protection is the core element of safeguarding and is defined as the responsibility to protect children who are suffering or likely to suffer from harm as a result of abuse or neglect.”

Rules and Responsibilities

All adults working with or on behalf of the children have a responsibility to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. There are, however, key people within School who have specific responsibilities under child protection procedures

BCA Safeguarding Team

Designated Safeguarding Leads (DSL)

  • Samantha Muse, School Counselor
  • Britt Dougherty, Head of School
  • Robert Dougherty, Director of Operations

Deputy Designated Safeguarding Leads (DDSL)

  • Vanshika Malhotra, Head of Learning-Pre-Primary
  • Melissa Watkins, BCA Coordinator
Steps for following up on Safeguarding Concerns

Information shared by a child
Child discloses information that raises concern for their well-being or that they may be suffering abuse:

  • Explain to the child that you will have to pass on your concerns to appropriate school leaders who will seek to help.
  • Never promise to keep a secret.
  • Listen carefully but ask NO questions at all or keep them to a minimum to ascertain facts only.
  • Make brief notes about what the child says as immediately as possible and definitely within 24 hours.

Report to Designated Safeguarding Lead or Deputy Safeguarding Lead:

  • Record what was shared by the student on a BCA/WPS Record of Concern Form. Include specific language used by the child, date, time, names.
  • HARD COPY – at no stage should this written record take the form of an email or email attachment.
  • The Record of Concern Form should be handed directly to the DSL or Deputy DSL.
  • Do NOT speak to anyone other than the members of the Safeguarding Team.

Behavior exhibited from a child

Child exhibits behavior or signs that raise concern for their well-being or that they may be suffering abuse:

  • Speak with designated BCA Safeguarding Team Member.
  • Never use email to share these concerns.
  • Do not speak to anyone other than the BCA Safeguarding Team Member about these concerns.

Report to Designated Safeguarding Lead or Deputy Safeguarding Lead:

  • Record what was shared by the student on a BCA/WPS Record of Concern Form. Include specific language used by the child, date, time, names.
  • A Body Map should be completed as appropriate.
  • HARD COPY – at no stage should this written record take the form of an email or email attachment.
  • The Record of Concern Form should be handed directly to the DSL or a Deputy DSL.
  • Do NOT speak to anyone that than the members of the Safeguarding Team.

Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL) will assess next steps

  • DSL will decide on future action as appropriate.
  • DSL will decide on future action as appropriate.
  • DSL will file the Record of Concern Form in secure Child Protection Storage.
  • The DSL will file the Record of Concern Form in secure Child Protection Storage.

Concerns involving an allegation against an adult working with children will immediately be considered by the Head of School and appropriate action taken.

When To Be Concerned

Staff should be concerned about a student if he or she:

  • Has any injury which is not typical of the bumps and scrapes normally associated

with children’s injuries

  • Regularly has unexplained injuries
  • Frequently has injuries (even when apparently reasonable explanations are given)
  • Confused or conflicting explanations are given on how injuries were sustained
  • Exhibits significant changes in behavior, performance, or attitude
  • Indulges in sexual behavior which is unusually explicit and/or inappropriate to his or her age
  • Discloses an experience in which he or she may have been significantly harmed
Visitors to Campus

Visitors to BCA, including parents, are not allowed to enter the school unaccompanied, they should wait in the reception area until a staff person accompanies them to the meeting area. Visitors will be required to sign-in, wear a visible visitor badge, and review the school’s Safeguarding/Health and Safety guidelines posted at the visitor sign-in at each building at the start of their visit.

Whistleblowing Policy

School strives to uphold the highest possible standards of ethical, moral and legal conduct. School is committed to maintaining a workplace where employees, officers, trustees, contractors, volunteers, and parents are free to raise concerns in good faith regarding our governance practices or any act of misconduct and/or abuse. Consistent with this commitment, this policy provides an avenue for employees, officers, contractors, volunteers, and parents to report concerns about suspected misconduct, dishonesty, non-compliance with laws, or fraud without fear of retaliation.

This policy and reporting procedure is not intended for reporting of day-to-day matters, such as student disciplinary issues, employment issues, general complaints or other matters that are regularly handled through other policies and procedures.

Scope

The reporting procedure outlined in this policy should be used to report suspected misconduct, dishonesty, legal non-compliance, student/employee abuse, conflict of interest or fraud in the operation of the organization (collectively referred to as “Suspected Violations”), including but not limited to:

  • Any occurrence of abuse of any student and/or staff member
  • Theft or other misappropriation of School assets
  • Deliberate misstatements, falsification or other irregularities in School financial reports or records
  • Non-compliance with state or federal laws
  • Misuse of School resources
  • Illegal activities
  • Forgery or alteration of documents
  • Violations of state or federal laws
  • Any other form of fraud or malfeasance
Procedure

Reporting Suspected Violations: Employees, officers, contractors, volunteers, and parents MUST report Suspected Violations to the Head of School verbally or in writing.

Anonymous Reporting: Employees, officers, contractors, volunteers, and parents are encouraged to disclose their identity when reporting Suspected Violations because appropriate follow-up questions and investigation may not be possible unless the source of the information is identified. However, anonymous reports of Suspected Violations will be treated in the same manner as any other reports. The employee, officer, contractor, volunteer, or parent may make the anonymous report to the Head of School verbally or in writing.

Timing: The earlier a Suspected Violation is reported, the easier it is to take effective action. Employees, officers, contractors, volunteers, and parents are therefore encouraged to make a report as soon as they become aware of a Suspected Violation.

Investigating a Suspected Violation: Once a suspected violation is reported to the Head of School, they will initially assess the matter if appropriate, which may include further investigation, corrective action, disciplinary action, reporting the matter to the proper authorities or other appropriate action. The Head of School may enlist the DSL, regional team or outside legal, accounting, or other advisors, as appropriate, to conduct the investigation. Investigations will be handled with sensitivity, discretion, and confidentiality to the fullest extent practicable under the circumstances, but complete confidentiality cannot be guaranteed, particularly if it will inhibit a thorough investigation.

If the investigation reveals that wrongdoing has taken place, prompt and effective remedial action will be taken. This may include disciplinary action, termination, legal action, or other corrective measures to prevent further violations.

Safeguards

No Retaliation: An employee, officer, contractor, volunteer, and/or parent who reports a suspected violation in good faith shall not suffer any harassment, retaliation, or adverse employment consequences for making the report. Any person who participates in the investigation of a suspected violation shall not suffer any harassment, retaliation, or adverse employment consequences. Any harassment, retaliation or adverse employment consequences should be reported to the Head of School. An employee, or officer who retaliates against a person for reporting a Suspected Violation in good faith or for participating in the investigation of a suspected violation shall be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment or other authorized sanction. This policy is intended to encourage and enable employees, officers, contractors, volunteers, and parents to report suspected violations within the organization prior to seeking resolution outside the organization.

Additionally, no employee, officer, contractor, or volunteer shall be adversely affected because he or she refuses to carry out a directive which, in fact, constitutes misconduct, dishonesty or fraud, or which violates state or federal law.

Acting in Good Faith: Anyone reporting a Suspected Violation should be acting in good faith and have reasonable grounds for believing the information disclosed indicates misconduct, dishonesty, violation of a state or federal law, or fraud. Making allegations that prove not to be substantiated and that were made maliciously or with the knowledge that they were false will be viewed as a serious offense and will lead to disciplinary action up to and including termination.

Cell phones and other electronic devices

Students are not permitted to carry cell phones and other non-approved electronic devices with them throughout their school day. Children who choose not to follow our request will be asked to release their cell phone or electronic device to the front office until a parent is available to stop by and pick it up.

Electronic reading device
  • If used for other than reading, teacher will confiscate the device and a parent must collect the device from the teacher.
  • If infraction occurs again, the student will not be permitted to have the device in school.

Smart Watches

  • If used for activities other than telling time, the teacher will confiscate the device and a parent must collect the device from the teacher.
  • If infraction occurs again, the student will not be permitted to have the device in school.

Devices (phones, etc.) must remain in backpacks while on campus.

No member of staff will carry a mobile phone, camera or similar device while providing intimate care.

Device Use

When students are present, cell phones may be used, as a clock, to check the time or as a timer for timing sheets. No texting, messaging, social media, checking of personal email, etc. should be occurring when a teacher is with students, or in the hallways, with or without students. Additionally, earphones may only be used during prep time.

Student Items from Home

Electronics/smart devices

  • Cell phones are not permitted.
Staff Use of Cell Phones

Staff in supervision of students may only use their cell phone for emergencies, to check the time or to take photos of students for use in parent communication; all pictures of students must be deleted from cell phones once photos are uploaded into our parent communication system.

Anti-bullying Policy

BCA is committed to maintaining a school climate in which students may learn and grow without fear of bullying or hazing, and thus every student has the right to feel safe from bullying at school. In accordance with our school’s mission and core values we strive to create a safe, positive and supportive culture in which each student can enjoy their academic, social and athletic opportunities and, therefore, bullying or hazing in any form will not be tolerated. These notes on bullying are intended for policy clarification purposes.

Definition of Bullying

Bullying is systematically and chronically inflicting verbal or physical hurt and/or psychological distress on one or more students. It is intentionally repeating cruel incidents involving the same student(s). What constitutes a bullying incident lies in the relationship between the perpetrator and the victim, and the intent of their interaction—mainly to cause distress to the victim. While bullying incidents vary in nature and degree of severity (see table of direct and indirect bullying examples below), and while perpetrators and victims will have different perceptions of these incidents, the consent of the victim may not be used as a defense, since such consent is no justification for bullying. In other words, the implied or expressed consent of a person or persons to bullying shall not be a defense against discipline under this policy.

Prohibited Conduct
  • Any act that involves physical brutality or physical aggression that causes or is reasonably likely to cause bodily danger or physical harm to an individual;
  • Any act that involves forced consumption of food, alcohol, drugs, or other substances, or any other forced physical activity that could endanger the physical health or safety of an individual;
  • Any activity that would subject an individual to extreme mental stress, extreme embarrassment, or extreme emotional harm, or any other forced activity that could endanger the mental health or dignity of the

Examples of common forms of bullying which may be verbal, physical, or psychological

  • direct Bullying
  • indirect Bullying
  • verbal bullying taunting, teasing, name calling
  • spreading rumors
  • physical bullying
  • hitting, kicking, slapping, destruction or theft of property enlisting a friend to assault someone for you
  • non-verbal/non-physical bullying
  • threatening or obscene gestures
  • excluding others from a group, manipulation of friendships, threatening email/Facebook message/social networking message
Reporting Incidents

 

School personnel (including all teachers, staff, etc.) and all students who become aware of bullying shall report such incidents immediately to the School’s Administration so that prompt and appropriate action can be taken. This requires vigilant observations in the classroom and around campus, particularly during daily transition periods (usually between classes or during lunch, for example) when students’ behavior may be less obvious to or deliberately concealed from adults. Any student who believes he or she is the victim of bullying or observes incidents that might constitute bullying has the obligation to inform or report the incidence to a teacher or staff member. Reporting of this nature—by personnel and students—helps to ensure the safety of all students and benefits the whole school community.

BCA’s Administration are available for consultation with students who believe they are subject to bullying. Reports will be treated confidentially and only shared with others within the school community on the basis of ensuring students’ safety. Certain conduct, such as violent behavior, may constitute a violation of law requiring that it be reported to proper authorities. Under such circumstances, the faculty member or adviser to whom the matter is reported will not be able to maintain the matter in confidence.

Consequences & Discipline

Each case of bullying that is reported to the School Administration will be treated on an individual basis. Depending on the circumstances, a range of disciplinary steps and strategies will be employed. These are outlined in the Handbook section on Discipline. Please refer to these sections for further clarification of the school’s disciplinary process or consult with the Director or another administrator of the school.

Sources:
  1. http://www.bullybeware.com/moreinfo.html
  2. http://www.sofweb.vic.edu.au/wellbeing/safeschools/bullying/antibullypol.htm
  3. Owlets, Bullying at School: What We Know and What We Can Do (Cambridge, MA: Blackwell Publishers, Inc., 1993)
Use guided by fairness and caring

Respect the persons with whom you are communicating electronically. Cyber bullying* is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.

*Cyber bullying involves the use of information and communication technologies such as e-mail, cell phone and text messages, instant messaging, defamatory personal websites, social networking sites, and defamatory online personal polling websites, to support deliberate, repeated, and hostile behavior by an individual or group, that is intended to harm or tease others.

Parental responsibilities outside of school

In partnership with the school, parents and guardians are expected to work with their students to maintain the routine of proper use of technology when away from school.

Parents should:

  • Limit non-academic on-screen time at home appropriate to age of their child
  • Regularly check their children’s chats, Instagram posts, etc. for inappropriate content
  • Check children’s use logs for inappropriate access to on-line content
  • Talk with their children about appropriate (and inappropriate) uses of technology
  • Use parent filters on their home networks
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