Schools told to protect students at all times

Schools told to protect students at all times Staff Reporter / 24 May 2013 Private school principals were told to ensure student protection at their schools at all times. During a workshop organised by the Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec), officials reiterated the student protection regulations and policies and stressed that action should be “taken to prevent reasonably foreseeable harm to students.” “Schools and school principals must ensure that all students are free from harm of any kind whilst they are in the school care, including travelling to and from the school using school transport and moving between, waiting for, and taking part in all activities organised by the school,” said Engineer Hamad Al Dhaheri, Private School and Quality Assurance (PSQA) executive director. According to him, all private schools are required to have in place a Student Protection Policy and schools should investigate and report to Adec within 24 hours of the incident. Adec regulations stipulated that schools must be equipped with a security system, including access procedures and logs, surveillance cameras and other devices, and surveillance procedures. Visual surveillance equipment must be installed to cover all school buildings, facilities and premises classified as sensitive or critical locations. Surveillance is permitted to be utilised in all common areas including hallways, stairwells, cafeteria, storerooms, computer labs, all entrances and exits to school buildings/premises, and any other areas where school equipment and valuable/confidential/dangerous materials are stored. Surveillance however, is not permitted inside classrooms, locker rooms, washrooms, play areas for female students, or any other area where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy. Kindergarten and Cycle 1 (Grades 1-5) male and female schools must have female cleaners; Cycle 2 (Grades 6-9) and 3 (Grades 10-12) female schools must only have female cleaners while Cycle 2 and 3 male schools must only have male cleaners. In addition, it is mandatory for all private schools to appoint female nurses at female schools and male nurses at male schools, and both a female and male nurse in case of co-education. In school transportation, drivers must have a good record of conduct and behaviour. Schools are required to hire a minimum of one adult to monitor the school vehicles. Kindergarten and Cycle 1 (male/female students) should have a female bus monitor, as well as, Cycle 2 and 3 female students. The monitor’s duty is to ensure student security during transport and arrival of students, including boarding and disembarking. No student must be left in the bus after his/her drop-off point. “These regulations have been introduced as part of PSQA’s comprehensive education reform (emphasising) that all students have the right to be protected from any type of harm. Adec will not tolerate any form of inappropriate behaviour committed to a student,” Al Dhaheri stressed.       Taylor Scott International

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