Protecting the children in our care is a priority on a daily basis at BFIS. When you come onto our campus you will see photos of our child safeguarding team and we have strict protocols and child protection safeguards built in our work that follow the international standards of the Council of International Schools and the International Task Force for Child Protection.
At BFIS we conduct all onboarding and ongoing child protection training for teachers, operational staff, substitute teachers, coaches and monitors supervising buses, after-school and summer programs. All staff members on our campus undergo regularly scheduled refresher training on our child protection and safeguarding practices to ensure that they are up-to-date and knowledgeable about the ways that we safeguard our children.
Working with children
We rigorously interview all of our employees and providers and require background checks before they are allowed to work with our children. We also ask specific recruitment questions to ensure that we only hire the most suitable candidates. We understand that mandatory criminal background checks alone are not a reliable source of information about the motivations of adults wishing to work in our community.
On our campus, we have a staff code of conduct that, amongst other things, aims to intentionally prevent the normalization of a type of touch between a trusted adult teacher and a child that allows a perpetrator to hide in plain sight. Thus, although we are not a no-touch school, things like hugs and student contact are 100% child initiated on our campus. We can hug back and gently disengage for example, but never initiate touch or carry a child.
We conduct developmentally appropriate research based lessons and discussions with students on safe touch and body ownership as part of our curriculum. As students get older we educate them about how to keep themselves safe and what to do if they have any concerns. As part of our curriculum, we teach our students about personal safety, including how to recognize and respond to uncomfortable and potentially dangerous situations, as well as how to report any concerns they may have. We encourage our students to speak to a trusted adult if they have any worries or concerns, and we have a clear reporting system in place to ensure that any incidents or concerns are dealt with promptly and appropriately.
In addition to our efforts to educate and empower our students, we conduct regular risk assessments for safe and vulnerable spaces or practices, ongoing reviews of our policies and procedures, and a system for reporting and investigating any incidents or concerns.
Open communication between parents, staff, and students is crucial at BFIS to ensure that everyone is aware of our safeguarding policies and procedures. We encourage parents to speak to us if they have any concerns, and we take all reports of suspected child abuse or neglect seriously.
Many of the safeguards we have described are preventative measures. Communities who think about safeguarding and child protection practices as prevention are safer for your children. However, we craft all research based policy and procedure carefully so that we can still offer a caring and healthy emotional environment for your child. For additional Information please contact Lila Jorge our Safeguarding Lead and Associate Head of School.