Safe Spaces: Why Safety Isn’t Just About Security in Schools

What do we really talk about when we talk about safety in schools? This is a question that lingers year after year as we take part in ensuring that our children grow up as young learners equipped for the challenges of the 21st century. From the school grounds to the playground equipment and student transportation vehicles, every detail of a school’s environment must be well-planned and established with the student community’s safety in mind. Open spaces that increase and ease how students go from one point to another must be planned out with everyone in mind, including those with special needs like ramps and elevators for those on wheelchairs.

Far too often, safety is associated with the physical aspects, such, at certain points, we tend to forget that the modern age has brought about new dangers for our children that we might not expect. Bullying among school age children, for instance, has been a problem in school settings, given the imbalance in terms of power relationships between students, and even among teachers.

As defined, bullying is an unacceptable form of repeated verbal, physical, and social behavior that causes both physical and psychological harm towards a victim. This can happen within the school and even outside it, especially if such acts are done through online means, or what is called cyberbullying. It takes many forms and can sometimes go on undetected, especially if the victim is given threats. It is important to be able to identify and prevent incidents of bullying from going on unnoticed, and parents and educators alike must stay vigilant about these issues.

Worldwide, the stance against bullying in schools has come at the forefront of children’s rights, and hence, it is a pressing concern for schools. The task of securing a safe learning environment for our children is an important tenet of the Whole Child approach, one that continues to develop approaches for intervention based on child and adolescent development and learning theories which help mend relationships and provide caring and loving environments for children.

At REX, we believe that when it comes to ensuring the safety of our children, persistence is key. Proactive and preventive policies to address the safety needs of the student community must be put in place, increase awareness through campaigns, and an effective understanding of the role of everyone from students, to the staff, and to the teachers in shaping positive relationships within the community. This means that each student should feel valued, respected, and cared for equally, all motivated to learn, grow, and face the challenges of the 21st century, in a space where they could feel both safe and secure.

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