The specialist in child safety
It is no doubt that child safety should be implemented at all schools. Parents trust their “precious ones” in the hands of the schools where their children are educated. It is essential and expected that kids are safe at school.
The word safe itself is quite subjective. School safety may concern issues such as assaults, bullying, theft, sexual attacks or accidents. It is expected that all aspects of safety are taken into account by schools. Yet, in reality there is a long list of factors that could
put kids in the risk of danger, so realistically schools can try their best to provide a safe area for kid, yet it may still not be enough when an unwanted and unexpected accident is to occur. Therefore, most schools follow a certain protocol or regulation made internally or by an external party such as the Government, or an organization focusing in safety areas. However, it is a pity that many schools still do not have a strong grip in implementing safety at school premises.
I’ve recently interviewed and made several phone calls to some schools in Indonesia regarding child safety implementations. All of them claimed that child safety is a priority. Child safety equipments are implemented when necessary. Most schools that I called claimed that the child safety equipments they provide are mainly fire hydrants and other fire protection equipments. Apparently in Indonesia, fire safety equipment is the most common one provided by schools. Yet what are the probability of a fire occurring at school compared to, say, kids bumping into walls? Or having their finger trapped in between doors? Obviously the injury caused by fire may be much more severe than bumping into walls. I am not saying that fire safety equipments are not important, but does it mean that small accidents (that are more likely to happen) like falling or trapping fingers in between doors, should be ignored?
Other schools that I have interviewed claimed that they have a wide range of child safety products. Some of them also get regular visits by the Government officials to check on the school environment. Interestingly, when being asked regarding regulations, there are apparently no government regulations specifying any procedures or standards regarding child safety, especially one preventing child accidents. One of my interviewees said something that grabbed my interest:
“Schools need to recognize the fact that the lack of regulation actually makes them more vulnerable not less vulnerable” Why? Because when something bad were to happen, the school would be liable for it, and their internal regulation would be considered insufficient. In reality, the government expects that all schools are safe, but does not really have a measure to how the word “safe” is defined.
It is also interesting that many schools make sure they have teachers to “keep an eye” on every students in order to prevent them from injuries. However, kids like to explore, and of course human errors may occur. Why not make sure that the school area are equipped with the necessary safety equipments instead of solely relying on teachers to pay attention, and hold them liable if anything were to happen?
I believe that this does not only occur in Indonesia, many countries still expect schools to be safe without providing the right regulation to prevent child accidents. Awareness clearly have to be raised to how important it is to apply safety equipments at schools, as it is better to prevent than regret!