International School Manila

Integrity - Service - Merit

Child Safeguarding at ISM

International School Manila takes the responsibility for care of all of our students very seriously. We strive to provide a safe and supportive learning environment, so that all students can maximize their learning. Our policies and procedures on child protection stem directly from our school’s core values and mission, which drive our determination for student safety. At ISM, we understand how important it is for school employees and parents to work together in the interest of safeguarding our students. Our policies and procedures are supported by worldwide best practice and coordinate clear and consistent procedures associated with keeping our students safe. If you need further clarification concerning a given situation please contact the appropriate Divisional Principal, Counselor or the Assistant Superintendent.
 
ISM Board Policy
 
We recognize that children are potentially at risk of abuse by others. Child abuse includes all forms of physical and sexual maltreatment by a parent(s), legal guardian, domestic employee, school faculty or staff member, or any other person, as well as exploitation and emotional neglect by the primary caregivers.
 
The School believes that every child has the right to be protected from such harm, and accordingly if the School discovers that a child is in jeopardy, it has an obligation to do whatever is in its power to ameliorate the situation. To this end, the School shall take all measures it feels necessary that will help protect the child. Its options may range from advice and counseling with those concerned all the way through to the notification of employers and public authorities.

Appendix  D*

Child Protection and Abuse
Ref: Policy Section 3090

1) Ensuring student safety is the School’s highest mission.

  • The greatest concern of parents is the welfare of their children
  • A single incident can damage the trust the parents have in the school
  • Once trust is lost, it is very difficult to restore

2) The School must engender a culture of student safety awareness.

  • All school employees have a duty to provide a safe environment for students
  • A school is legally responsible for the conduct of its employees

3) All school employees must be suitably vetted and vouched for.

  • The screening method must incorporate criminal record and reference checks
  • Reference letters must always be confirmed by telephone follow up
  • A face-to-face interview is always preferable to an online conversation
  • Contracts must have an escape clause in the event that new information emerges

4) Outsourced contractors are responsible for screening their employees but the process must be approved by School.

  • Contract terms must include insurance, indemnifications and obligations
  • Contractual staff must receive a formal briefing on expectations re contact with students

5) All volunteers who have close contact with students must be screened, trained and supervised.

  • The school will keep a register of such volunteers, and supervisors will be obliged to record any concerns that may arise.

6) Any behavioral concerns about employees must be investigated and documented.

  • Behavioral expectations of employees are discussed and  contractually enforced
  • There is a formal protocol for investigation of any behavior that is a cause for concern
  • The outcome of any investigation will be documented and form part of the employee’s 201 file

7) If an employee knows or suspects that another employee is abusing a child, then he/she must inform the building principal or the appropriate counselor immediately.

  • The building principal will report this matter in writing to the superintendent
  • A comprehensive inquiry will be conducted by a team including at least one counselor, administrator and the 
  • Findings will be reported to the superintendent in writing who will act according to the evidence
  • Disciplinary consequences may be internal (including suspension or dismissal) and/or external (including relevant embassies or law enforcement agencies)
  • If the employee who reported the concern did so in good faith, there can be no retaliation against said employee if the concern is not justified
  • At all times, the welfare of the child/ren involved takes highest precedence

8) If an employee suspects that abuse is taking place beyond the campus, there is an equal and compelling obligation to inform either the building principal or an appropriate counselor.

  • The building principal will report this matter in writing to the superintendent
  • A comprehensive inquiry will be conducted by a team including at least one counselor and administrators
  • Findings will be reported to the superintendent in writing who will act according to the evidence
  • Consequences may include notification of relevant embassies or law enforcement agencies or employers or all of these
  • If the employee who reported the concern did so in good faith, there can be no retaliation against said employee if the concern is not justified
  • At all times, the welfare of the child/ren involved takes highest precedence

9) The internet is a medium that can expose and endanger children.

  • The school must have a clear policy statement on internet use
  • The school must filter out from its network as far as reasonably possible inappropriate text and images
  • The school must educate children about their rights and responsibilities as digital citizens

10) Education and empowerment are key factors in keeping children safe.

  • The school will develop a comprehensive and coordinated wellness program beginning in Elementary School and continuing through High School
  • The program will, in a developmentally appropriate manner, make children aware of their right to make their decisions about their bodies

*With acknowledgement of input from David Wolowitz J.D. (David Wolowitz is Senior director and co-chair of the education law group at the McLane Law Firm in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.)