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CHILD PROTECTION POLICY


Children have the inalienable right to protection and safeguarded from all forms of abuse, maltreatment and harm, and this applies to all children in all settings including educational environment. Sinclair High School has firmly placed the protection of children as priority commitment and put in place policies, mechanisms and measures; and strives towards ensuring that every child feels safe and protected in every way.

Under Article 19 of the UNCRC, the School has an obligation towards child protection in school. The authorities, teachers and other adults engaged in the process of schooling and teaching are therefore duty bound to provide an environment that supports and promotes children’s dignity, development and protection.

As children spend a significant part of their childhood and formative years in school, it is imperative that the ambiance in schools is positive and nurturing, where they feel safe and secure on the premises and with the care providers. Sense of safety and wellbeing is also instilled in students when action is taken against misconduct or abuse, such as corporal punishment, discriminatory practices, bullying and other forms of verbal, emotional or sexual abuse, by teachers, other personnel and other students.

Any form of humiliating and abusive treatment is not only a violation of the child’s right to protection from violence, but also counter-productive to learning and development, which are the primary purposes of schooling.

All children are susceptible to violence and exploitation; however the vulnerability of girl children and the third gender to gender based violence and discrimination are critical areas of concern. These call for attitudinal and behavioural shift that would set in place practices that empowers children and the young, especially the girls.

Providing opportunity and space for children to share their grievances, concerns, fears as much as their suggestions and views with regard to their own safety is imperative and will go a long way in creating the desired ‘child sensitive’ atmosphere.



  1. This policy has been approved by the Bangalore City Mission and Sinclairs High School Board of Trustees, and is addressed to all members of staff and volunteers, and is available to parents on request, and is to be published on the School website. It applies wherever staff or volunteers are working with students even where this is outside the school campus, for example, at an activity centre or on an educational visit.

  2. Every student should feel safe and protected from any form of abuse which, in this policy, means any kind of neglect.
    • non-accidental physical injury.
    • sexual exploitation.
    • emotional ill-treatment.

  3. Bangalore City Mission and Sinclairs High School is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of young people and expects all staff and volunteers and visitors to share this commitment. The school will take all reasonable measures to:
    • Ensure that we practice safe recruitment processes in checking the suitability of staff and volunteers to work with students and young people with the guidance given by the Government of Karnataka, Department of Secondary Education.
    • Ensure that we carry out all necessary checks on the suitability of the existing staff both administrative and management.
    • Ensure that where staff from another organization are working with our students on another site, we have received assurances that appropriate child protection checks and procedures apply to those staff.
    • Ensure that all visitors to the school are vetted and authorized and are accompanied at all times.
    • To follow the 22-point guidelines provided by the Police Department of Karnataka for child protection in the school.
    • To protect each student from any form of abuse, whether from an adult or another student.
    • To be alert to signs of abuse both in the school and from outside the school.
    • To deal appropriately with every suspicion or complaint of abuse.
    • To design and operate procedures which promote this policy and which, so far as possible, ensures that teachers and others who are innocent are not prejudiced by false allegations.
    • To support students who have been abused in accordance with his/her or families agreed child protection plan.
    • To be alert to the medical needs of students with medical conditions.
    • To operate robust and sensible health & safety procedures.
    • To take all practicable steps to ensure that the school premises are as secure as circumstances permit.
    • To operate clear and supportive policies on drugs, alcohol and substance abuse in accordance with the school policy.
    • Consider and develop procedures to deal with any other safeguarding issues which may be specific to individual students in Bangalore City Mission or Sinclairs High School.

  4. Every complaint or suspicion of abuse from within or outside the school will be taken seriously and in all proper circumstances will be referred to an external agency such as the Child Rights Department or the local Police Department. In each case, the matter should be referred to the person appointed in Bangalore City Mission or Sinclairs High School for Child Protection, in this case Principal, Director or Senior Teacher who will hence forth be called “Designated Person”

  5. The school has appointed two senior members of management and staff with the necessary status (“Designated Person”) to be responsible for matters relating to child protection and welfare. The main responsibilities of the Designated Person are:
    • To be the first point of contact for parents, students, teaching and non-teaching staff and external agencies in all matters of child protection.
    • To co-ordinate the child protection procedures in the school.
    • To maintain an on-going training program for all school employees.
    • To monitor the keeping, confidentiality and storage of records in relation to child protection. These records are stored in a file in the Headmaster’s office.
    • To liaise with the child protection officer appointed by the trustees.

  6. The Designated Person in the School is Principal, Director or Senior Teacher who may be contacted on the school number 080-25443745 or sinclairsschool1990@gmail.com

  7. TYPES OF ABUSE
  8. Abuse can be:

    • Physical abuse, for example beating or punching;
    • Emotional abuse, for example rejection and denial of affection;
    • Sexual abuse, for example sexual assault, encouraging physical intimacy, unnecessary touch, or encouraging a child or young person to view pornographic material;
    • Neglect, for example failure to provide appropriate care including warmth or medical attention.

    The school is also alert to the possibility of students harming themselves, for example through cutting, burning, or misuse of substances as well as forms of self harm related to anorexia and bulimia.


  9. SIGNS OF ABUSE; POSSIBLE SIGNS OF ABUSE INCLUDE BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO:
    • The student says he/she has been abused or asks a question which gives rise to that inference.
    • There is no reasonable or consistent explanation for a student’s injury; the injury is unusual in kind or location; there have been a number of injuries; there is a pattern to the injuries.
    • The student’s behavior stands out from the group as either being extreme model behavior or extremely challenging behavior; or there is a sudden change in the student’s behavior.
    • The student asks to drop out of school because of a particular teacher and seems reluctant to discuss the reasons.
    • The student’s development is delayed.
    • The student loses or gains weight rapidly.
    • The student appears neglected, e.g. dirty, hungry, or inadequately clothed.
    • The student is reluctant to go home or has been openly rejected by his/her parents or guardians.
    • The student unusually puts on excessive layers of clothing or shows inappropriate dressing behavior.

  10. DUTY OF EMPLOYEES
    • Every employee and director/trustee of the school is under a general legal duty to protect students from abuse.
    • To be aware of the school’s child protection procedures and to follow them.
    • To know how to access and implement the procedures independently, if necessary.
    • To keep a sufficient record of any significant complaint, conversation, or event.
    • To report any matters of concern to the Designated Person.

  11. PROCEDURES OF INITIAL COMPLAINT: A MEMBER OF STAFF SUSPECTING OR HEARING A COMPLAINT OF ABUSE:
    • Must listen carefully to the young person and keep an open mind. Staff should not take a decision as to whether or not the abuse has taken place.
    • Must not ask leading questions, that is, a question which suggests its own answer.
    • Must reassure the young person but not give a guarantee of absolute confidentiality. The member of staff should explain that they need to pass the information to the Designated Person who will ensure that the correct action is taken bringing the child into confidence.
    • Must keep a sufficient written record of the conversation. The record should include the date, time and place of the conversation and the essence of what was said and done by whom and in whose presence. The record should be signed by the person making it and should use names, not initials. The record must be kept securely and handed to the Designated Person.

  12. PRESERVING EVIDENCE :
  13. All evidence, (for example, scribbled notes, mobile phones containing text messages, clothing, and computers), must be safeguarded and preserved.


  14. REPORTING :
  15. All suspicion or complaints of abuse must be reported to one of the “Designated Persons”


  16. ACTION BY THE DESIGNATED PERSON; THE ACTION TO BE TAKEN WILL TAKE INTO ACCOUNT:
    • The matter, if serious enough, should be taken to the Child Protection Department or police department.
    • The nature and seriousness of the suspicion or complaint. A complaint involving a serious criminal offense will always be referred to the police without further investigation within the School.
    • The wishes of the student who has complained has to be entertained by taking it in writing, provided that the student is of sufficient understanding and maturity and properly informed. However, there may be times when the situation is so serious that decisions may need to be taken, after all appropriate consultation, that override a student’s wishes.
    • All involved parties and partners should be kept informed in case of serious child protection lapses, e.g. police, parents, management, and overseas partners.
    • The wishes of the complainant’s parents, provided they have no interest which is in conflict with the student’s best interests and that they are properly informed. Again, it may be necessary, after all appropriate consultation, to override parental wishes in some circumstances. If the Designated Person is concerned that disclosing information to parents would put a young person at risk, or it is against the student’s wishes, he or she will take further advice from the relevant professionals before making a decision to disclose. This is in line with the cultural sensitivities of such matters when parents and community feel is a matter of moral disgrace and may have other consequences even leading to suicide.

  17. REFERRAL TO THE POLICE OR CHILD PROTECTION DEPARTMENT WILL NOT NORMALLY BE MADE WHERE:
    • The complaint does not involve a serious criminal offence; and
    • A referral would be contrary to the wishes of a student complainant who is of sufficient maturity and understanding and properly informed, and contrary also to the wishes of the complainant’s parents.
    • The case is one that can be satisfactorily investigated and dealt with under the School’s internal procedures. However, if during the course of the internal procedures, it appears that the situation is more serious, the Designated Person will again consider whether a referral should be made in accordance with section 13 above.

  18. EXTERNAL AGENCIES
  19. Whether or not the School decides to refer a particular complaint to police, Child Protection Department, or overseas partner organizations, the parents and student will be informed in writing of their right to make their own complaint or referral to the Police or Child Protection Department.


  20. ALLEGATIONS AGAINST STAFF
  21. The School has procedures for dealing with allegations against staff (and volunteers who work with children) that aim to strike a balance between the need to protect students from abuse and the need to protect staff and volunteers from false or unfounded allegations.

    Suspension will not be an automatic response to an allegation. Full consideration will be given to all the options, subject to the need to ensure:

    • The safety and welfare of the students or student concerned;
    • The need for a full and fair investigation.

  22. PREVENTION
  23. Detailed guidance is given to staff to ensure that their behavior and actions do not place students or themselves at risk of harm or of allegations of harm to a student. This guidance is contained in the Staff Handbook, presented to all staff at the beginning of each year and emphasized in the general ethos of Bangalore City Mission or Sinclairs High School.


  24. WHISTLEBLOWING
  25. All staff are required to report to the HeadMaster or trustees in their absence, any concern or allegations about school practices or the behavior of colleagues which are likely to put pupils at risk of abuse or other serious harm. There will be no retribution or disciplinary action taken against a member of staff for making such a report provided that it is done in good faith.


  26. ALLEGATIONS AGAINST STUDENTS
    • A student against whom an allegation of abuse has been made may be suspended from the School during the investigation and the School’s policy on behavior, discipline and sanctions will apply. The School will take advice from the Local Authorities on the investigation of such allegations and will take all appropriate action to ensure the safety and welfare of all students involved including the student or students accused of abuse. If it is necessary for a student to be interviewed by the police in relation to allegations of abuse, the School will ensure that. Parents are informed as soon as possible and that the student is supported during the interview by an appropriate adult. In the case of students whose parents are abroad, the student's guardian will be requested to provide support to the student and to arrange suitable advocacy if it is necessary to suspend him/her during the investigation (as appropriate).
    • The student may be dismissed from school if the nature of the abuse is criminal in nature.
    • The student who is a habitual offender, the student can be dismissed from school after adequate warning. The school need not take the consent of any authorities or overseas partners for doing the same.

  27. Suspected Harm From Outside the School A member of staff who suspects that a student is suffering harm from outside the School should seek information from the young person with tact and sympathy using “open” and not leading questions. A sufficient record should be made of the conversation and if the member of staff continues to be concerned he or she should refer the matter to the Designated Person.

  28. INFORMING PARENTS
  29. Parents will normally be kept informed of any action to be taken under these procedures. However, there may be circumstances when the Designated Person will need to consult the Trustees and headmaster before discussing details with parents.


  30. Confidentiality and information sharing Bangalore City Mission or Sinclairs High School will keep all child protection records confidential, allowing disclosure only to those who need the information in order to safeguard and promote the welfare of children. The School will cooperate with police and Child Right Department to ensure that all relevant information is shared for the purposes of child protection.

  31. VOLUNTEERS
    • A volunteer must apply to visit the organization through the online Volunteer application form.
    • Volunteers applying directly will have to produce adequate evidence of the credibility and social standing. They will have to produce a recommendation letter from their local church or from the police department that they are fit to be working in an environment involving children.
    • The application for volunteer service is subject to approval by Bangalore City Mission or Sinclairs High School even though the volunteer is able to furnish all formalities.

  32. CHILD SPONSORS
    • For child sponsors within India male sponsors will be allowed to sponsor only male children and female sponsors will be allowed to sponsor only female children due to the proximity and ability to frequently visit their sponsored children, which may at certain times lead to various forms of abuse and enticement.
    • The child sponsor both local and international is allowed to visit the child not more than 2 times a year.
    • All sponsorship visits will happen only at the school premises under the supervision of the organizations authorities and will not be allowed anywhere outside, including the child’s home. These meetings can put the child at risk.
    • The child sponsor can in no way demand submission of the child due to his financial support, and in no way imply hidden pressures or expect favors from the child arising due to his support.
    • The details such as phone number, address, or other contact information of the child sponsor or the child shall not be disclosed to either parties by Bangalore City Mission or Sinclairs High School protecting the interest of both the child and the confidentiality and privacy of the sponsor.
    • Child sponsors coming through overseas partner organizations will come after written recommendation through post or email from the partner organization.
    • Child Sponsors applying directly will have to produce adequate evidence of the credibility and social standing. They will have to produce a recommendation letter from their local church or from the police department that they are fit to be working in an environment involving children.

  33. PHYSICAL IMPLEMENTATION FOR CHILD PROTECTION UNDERTAKEN BY BANGALORE CITY MISSION OR SINCLAIRS HIGH SCHOOL IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE GUIDELINES PROVIDED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF SECONDARY EDUCATION, KARNATAKA AND THE POLICE DEPARTMENT.
    • The school has installed Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) security system for 24-hours video surveillance of the entire Bangalore City Mission or Sinclairs High School property.
    • The school has appointed a Security Guard to control the entry and exit of student ensuring only authorized persons are allowed inside the premises involving students.
    • A register is maintained at the gate which records the details of any visitor inside the organization, which records details such as phone number, purpose of visit, whom to visit, in time, and out time for scrutiny if required at a later time.
    • A “Designated Person” is assigned and made accessible to students who need to make a complaint.
    • The school gate will open only on the arrival of a male and female staff at the same time. A female teacher has been assigned to be the first pick up and last drop in the school bus at all times. In case of the female teacher assigned is not available for the day, one of the other female teachers traveling in the bus will volunteer to do the same.
    • The school bus will make no unnecessary stops or change it’s pre-authorized route at any circumstance. If it needs to do so, the driver will first get the consent of the female teacher in-charge also informing the head master. Details of all management and staff members, including volunteers, maintenance staff, and bus driver has been submitted to the police department as per requirement of law by the Department of Secondary education, and has been verified as permissible in an environment involving children. The child protection policy has been elaborated to all persons involved with the work of Bangalore City Mission or Sinclairs High School. An awareness program has been conducted in an age relevant manner with all children involved in the school with information such as “good touch, bad touch” etc. with adequate knowledge share empowered by videos etc.

      All student outings will be accompanied by a minimum of one male and one female staff.

      All parent have been issued with an identification card with their photo and the photo of their children to help the security guard to hand over children to the rightful person.


  34. USE OF CONTENT INVOLVING CHILDREN. Eg. ADDRESS AND PHOTOGRAPHS.
    • Use of content such of child information shall be maintained confidential by Bangalore City Mission and Sinclairs High School. The relevant information shall be given to sponsoring partner organizations for the sole purpose of supporting a child’s development and education. however, the child’s personal contact details and full name shall be maintained confidential at all times.
    • The school shall obtain the right to photograph a child for the purpose of its organizational records. The organization shall obtain written permission during the time of admission to use/publish the child photograph in good faith in school and organization related publications. However, will refrain from doing so if a written request is obtained by the parents sighting cultural or religious reasons.
    • The organization shall authorize highly trusted partner organizations such as child sponsorship partners that Bangalore City Mission and Sinclairs High School has an established signed working partnership with to publish photographs of the child solely for the purpose of raising support for the child’s education and community development and for no other purpose.
    • The organization shall portray children in modest clothing in all its publications and care must be taken not to affect the social, community, or religious sentiment of any child involved.

  35. This document of Child Protection Policy of Bangalore City Mission and Sinclairs High School has been documented and approved by the following authorities and has been made available to all persons involved and a signed copy of the same has been maintained by the relevant department.

APPROACH

The Child Protection Policy of Sinclair High School is guided by the National Policy for Children, 2013, of Government of India, which is a reaffirmation of the government’s commitment to the realization of all rights to children. The National Policy for Children (2013) highlights, “safety and security of all children is integral to their well being and children are to be protected from all forms of harm, abuse, neglect, violence, maltreatment and exploitation in all settings including care institutions, schools, hospitals, crèches, families and communities”. It also points out that “mental, emotional, cognitive, social and cultural development of the child is to be addressed in totality'.

Hence, a child centric rights based approach, affirmed by India's commitments to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, is deeply implied as the guiding framework for all future actions taken regarding children. This approach enables all children to access, participate in and profit fully from learning opportunities in a space that inspires their confidence and holistic sense of well-being. Participation of children in the process is undeniable right to every child.

Child Protection Policy is a statement of intent that defines the school’s commitment to safeguard children from harm and abuse. It helps to create a safe and positive environment for children, shows that the school is taking its duty of care seriously, and importantly specifies stakeholders’ responsibilities and roles in the protection of children.

The child protection mandate must be reflected not only in the policies but also reflected in every aspect of the school administration and management including in staff recruitment, training and teaching learning transactions that would impact interactions between teachers, students, the school environment and parents – rendering them more child centric.

The policy will apply to all personnel and persons related to the school and who come in direct or indirect contact with children.

  • Direct Contact with Children: Being with and in the physical presence of a child or children as part of their professional or school related work, be it regular, occasional, temporary or long term
  • Indirect Contact with Children: Those whose work does not require them to be in the physical presence of a child but encompasses access to personal details and information, data on children including photographs, case files etc.

PURPOSE OF THIS POLICY

  • To promote a safe and positive environment in school, conducive for learning and development, in partnership with children
  • To provide the school’s position on safety and protection of children and the measures taken for ensuring the same
  • To define roles and responsibilities and accountability of school authorities and other stakeholders
  • To enable staff and others recognize signs of abuse or situation when a child may require protection and help; and importantly enable them to report or bring to the notice of the concerned authority for immediate action
  • To set in place mechanisms for monitoring and review of the implementation of the child protection standards

KEY ELEMENTS OF OUR POLICY

This Policy encompasses guidelines for safety and protection of children that includes physical, emotional and personal safety, protection from corporal punishment, sexual abuse, cyber-crime, and emergencies and disasters.

The Policy comprises the following key elements to guide the behaviour and practices of personnel and individuals in relation to the school such as

  • Creating a child safe and child sensitive school environment
  • Prevention of child abuse – dealing with various forms of child abuse including corporal punishment
  • Responding to Child Safety Violations - Complaints mechanisms and response, procedures
  • Recruitment and capacity building of personnel
  • Disciplinary action for misconduct
  • Referral systems
  • Monitoring and Review that includes self-assessment, feedback mechanisms and reporting.
  • Convergence and collaboration

MONITORING AND REVIEW

At Sinclair High School, management is committed to the on-going monitoring and periodic review of the implementation of the Child Protection standards, behavior protocols, response and reporting mechanisms. Annual staff and personnel appraisals will include preventive and proactive measures by the staff members in this area, and their adherence to standards.

The PTA/CDP and Children’s clubs are actively involved in the process of bi-annual review and will be provided opportunity to give their feedback on the protection and safety standards.

The School Management will review the Child Protection Policy once in two years or if and when situation warrants, and bring in necessary changes, in consultation with all stakeholders.

The School Inspection Committee has also assessed to the school’s adherence to the child protection policy and provides opportunity for parents and students to share their concerns if any.

CHILD PROTECTION POLICY

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