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Child Protection and Community Wellness Handbook KAS
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KAOHSIUNG AMERICAN SCHOOL

Overview

Providing a safe and secure community for our children and the adults who work with them is of the utmost importance at Kaohsiung American School (KAS). The purpose of the following document is to provide structures and procedures in ways to prevent our children and faculty from being in unfavorable situations and ways to proceed if a person’s safety and/or well being is at risk. All KAS staff are responsible for the care of children according to Taiwanese law[1].

Any suspected abuse or neglect of children under 18 must be reported. Reporting is required for any suspicion that a child is being maltreated due to physical, emotional, sexual abuse or the child is being neglected. The confidentiality of the student and his or her family will be protected to the extent appropriate.

Child Protection Committee

Purpose of Committee:

Formation of Committee:

*Committee formation must comply with the Gender Equity Education Act, please see below.

Frequency of Meetings:

Definitions

Abuse: Any act or failure to act which results in death, physical or emotional harm, or exploitation of a person.

Anti-social behaviors: A juvenile or an adolescent is considered highly likely to commit crimes.

Bullying: Bullying is aggressive behavior that involves unwanted, negative actions.  Such actions can be physical, verbal or psychological in nature.  Further, bullying involves a pattern of behavior repeated over time; an isolated incident of teasing or harassment, while inappropriate and subject to discipline, is not considered bullying. Finally, bullying typically involves an imbalance of power or strength.

Child: Any person less than 12 years of age.

Cyberbullying: is a unique form of bullying which occurs digitally through the use of chat, texting, social networking sites, or other forms of electronic communication. As with all forms of bullying, cyberbullying involves unwanted, negative actions, repeated over time, with an imbalance of power. Such behavior will be treated just as seriously as any other type of bullying.

Domestic Violence: An act of harassment, control, threat or other illegal actions conducted against any family member that is physical, psychological, or economic in nature.

Gender Equity Education: Refers to using education to nurture respect for gender diversity, eliminate gender discrimination, and advance genuine gender equality.[2]

Gender Identity: Refers to an individual’s awareness and acceptance of their particular gender category.[3]

Gender Nonconforming Students: A term for people whose gender expression differs from sterotypical expecations, such as “feminine” boys, “masculine” girls, and those who are precieved as androgynous. This includes people who identify outside traditional categories or identify as multiple genders. Other terms that have similar meanings include gender diverse or gender expansive.

Self Harm: Behavior that is self directed and deliberately results in injury or potential for injury to oneself. Can be categorized as either non suicidal or suicidal.

Sexual Assault: The following acts constitute sexual assult

Sexual Bullying: Any verbal, physical or other forms of violent attacks on other people’s gender characteristics, sexuality or gender identities, that are not sexual harassment.

Sexual Exploitations of Children and Youths: Is an act that engages children and/or youths in suxual activites for consideration (monetary or otherwise), for others to watch, for filming or other recording activities, and/or escort services.

Sexual Harassment: Any non-consenual sexual or gender realted activites and/or favorable or unfavorable treatment as the result of sexual or gender realted activites that undermine dignity, adversly affect work, are threating, hostile or offensive in nature. This may include:

Suicide Threat: Verbal or non verbal or written communication that the students intends to harm him/herself with the intention to die.

Transgender: People whose sense of their own gender differs fromw aht would be expected based on the sex characteristics with which they are born.

Youth:  Any person between 12-17 years of age.

Confidentiality

Sensitive Information - Medical records, healthcare, genetics, sex life, physical examination and criminal records. (This includes sexuality and gender identity information)

If a student discloses sensitive information it can not be disclosed to other people inside or outside of the KAS community without written consent, with the exception of the student’s legal guardians. For students under 7 parents must give written permission, and for students between 7-18 the student and the parents must give written permission. KAS must disclose sensitive information under emergency circumstances (potential harm to the student or others) or if required by mandatory reporting obligations.

If a student discloses information other than sensitive information that information may be shared without the student’s consent with other school personnel to the extent that it is strictly necessary for the purposes of counseling and supporting the student.

If at any time there is a concern for a student's safety and wellbeing, all KAS faculty are expected to report information they have about students to the school counselor or principal.

Parents have a right to request their child’s records and/or inquire about conversations their child may have had with KAS employees. Therefore conversations and information recorded in a student’s file will be shared upon request.  It is best to notify students that this is the case.

*This procedure is developed in accordance with Taiwan law and policy alongside US FERPA regulations.  In all cases, including cases where Taiwan law/policy and US FERPA regulations may conflict, we follow the procedures included herein.

Signs and Symptoms of Child Abuse[4] 

Indicators of abuse can include, but are not limited to, the following signs. Some signs are more obvious than others. Trust your instincts.

Gender Equity Education Committee (GEEC)

Gender Equity Education Act

The GEEC is established (amongst others):

Formation

*The KAS Child Protection Committee and Chairperson will be used as the GEEC

Complaints Procedure

Other Obligation

Transgender/Gendernonconforming Youth

This policy explicitly includes sexual orientation, gender equity, gender identity, and gender expression, both for students/clients and for staff and faculty. The purpose of the policy is to create an enviroment that is free from discrimination for all student/clients and employees in the school or during school-sponsored events. This includes activities off campus and when students ride buses. This policy also pertains to any electronic communication that occurs in the school, on school property, at school sponsored events. The policy should be followed by the entire school community, including educators, school staff, students, parents and volunteers.

Privacy and Confidentiality Regarding Disclosure

Some transgender and gendernonconforming students may not yet be out to their parents/guardians. Transgender and gendernonconforming students have the right to decide when, with whom and to what extent to share private information. When contacting the parent/guardian of a transgender or gender nonconforming student, school staff should use the student’s legal name and the pronoun corresponding to the student’s sex assigned at birth, unless the student or parent/guardian has specified otherwise.

Students have the right to share or withhold information about their sexual orientation or gender identity from their parents, teachers, and other parties. Even when students appear to be open about their sexual orientation or gender identity at school, it remains the student’s right to limit the extent to which, and with whom, the information is shared. KAS has a policy that we protect student privacy, including the privacy of transgender and gender nonconforming students.

When school staff are required by law to report a student’s legal name or gender to an outside organization, the school administration will follow the local laws of individual privacy and confidentiality. Students will be notified of this legal provision as early as possible in this process so that they are aware in advance of the limits of confidentiality. Students will also be notified if and when the school is required to report their confidential information to an outside organization or a legal guardian. In this case, the information will only be released as a result of a formal request from the entity, organization, or legal guardian.

  1. School proactively notifies students who come out of this legal requirement up front.
  2. The school notifies the student as soon as possible if they do run into this legal requirement.
  3. The school (counselors) facilitate students coming out to family before it becomes an issue - prevent worse case scenarios, provide education and clarification.

Dress Code

The policy emphasizes that regulation of student dress must be free from bias and all students have the right to be treated equitably. The policy treats each student with respect and objectivity regardless of: sex; race; religious belief; sexual orientation; gender expression or identity; ethnicity; physical characteristics; or the presence of any sensory, mental, or physical disability. Students have the right to dress according to their gender identity as long as the dress is within the constraints of the dress code adopted by the school. Dress codes for school events, activities and sports will not be based on gender, students have the right to wear the assigned uniform that aligns with their gender identity for such events.

Access to Gender-Segregated Activities and Facilities:

Restrooms

Our KAS policy states that students are allowed to use the restroom or locker room in accordance with their gender identity. Alternative all-gender or single-user restrooms are also available for all students. Any student who has the need or desire for increased privacy regardless of the underlying reasons, has the right to access a single-user restroom. Students, including nonbinary students, will determine which facility they prefer to use consistent with their gender identity.

Physical Education Classes and Athletics

All students will be permitted to participate in physical education and intramural sports consistent with their gender identity.

Other Gender-Based Activities

The school will evaluate all gender-based activities, rules, and policies (class activities, ceremonies and performances, and school photos and dress) and maintain/continue those that serve educational purposes. Students shall be permitted to participate in such activities in accordance with their gender identity.

Names, Pronouns, and Records:

Every student and person in the school community has the right to be addressed by their self-determined gender identity. Regardless if the person has legally changed their name or pronouns, the school will allow the use of a chosen name and gender pronouns that reflect their gender identity. Communication around how the student or person would like to be addressed will be discussed in a sensitive manner, always erring on the side of allowing the person to take control and determine when, if, and how they want to share the information After faculty and staff have been notified of a student’s gender identity, it is expected that they address the student by their gender-affirming pronouns and create a classroom and school environment where it is normalized to do so.

If the student has been known at a previous school by a different name, the school administrators will make every effort to update the school records for the current school with the appropriate pronouns and name. All school reports (attendance, grades, transcripts) will be updated with the appropriate gender markers. Records with student name and sex assigned at birthwill be kept in a separate and confidential location.

Bullying, Harassment, and Discrimination:

Discrimination, bullying, and harassment on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity or expression is prohibited in school or during any school-sponsored activities. It is the responsibility of the school staff to to ensure that the school environment is safe for transgender and gender nonconforming students. Responsibilities include ensuring that all incidents of discrimination, harassment disrespect and bullying are given immediate attention. This includes investigating the incident, protecting the reporter/student from retaliation, and taking age-appropriate responses, including consequences where appropriate. This process should include documentation, protection from future harassment, education and resources for all those involved, and documentation of the process for school records.

Reporting

Mandatory KAS Reporting

Reporting is mandatory if any of the following is suspected. Teachers and staff are required to submit a KAS incident report to the principal or counselor. All teachers and staff should be aware of the child abuse warning signs/symptoms.

*Reporting is mandatory for suspecting any of the above.  Proof of accusation and/or reasonable cause is not needed to report and lack thereof should not prevent reporting.  KAS will not retaliate against anyone who mistakenly reports suspected infractions against child protection and/or community well being. If another employee is involved the concern should be brought directly to the school principal or superintendent.

Reporting Process

If any of the mandatory topics listed above are suspected by any employee of KAS they must be reported to the school principal or counselor immediately. If another employee is involved the concern should be brought directly to the school principal or superintendent. If the principal is suspected of being the perpetrator of the abuse the superintendent will be notified instead. The school principal will record the report and ask for a written statement.

Responding to Reports

After a concern is reported to the school principal it is her/his responsibility to determine if there is reasonable cause and to define the nature of the incident. If it is deemed there is reasonable cause the KAS Response Team will be formed. The response team will conduct an inquiry and determine next steps. (Please see flow chart)

KAS Child Protection Teams

Gender Equity Education Committee Protection Team (Sexual Assault, Harassment, & Bullying)

*GEEC Response Team must be more than 50% female and must have 3 or 5 members.

Bullying Protection Team

Child Protection (All other)

Child Protection Flow Chart

Legal Reporting Requirements by Taiwanese Law

The response  team will ensure that all required incidents are reported to the Ministry of Education and other governmental agencies as appropriate and as required by Taiwan law. Student names will be redacted from the external reporting unless required by law.

Reporting Event

Who Should Report

To Whom

When

Sexual exploitation of children and youths

Principal/ Superintendent

The BoE

The Police/DA’s Office

Immediately

Sexual assaults

Principal/ Superintendent

Relevant authorities at the Kaohsiung City Government

Within 24 hours

Sexual harassments (Between Adults Only)

Principal/ Superintendent

Relevant authorities at the Kaohsiung City Government

After an internal inquiry (within 2 months of receipt of the complaint, unless extended)

Campus sexual assaults, harassment and bullying (At least one student involved)

Principal/ Superintendent

GEEC

The BoE

The Police/DA’s Office

Within 24 hours

Campus Bullying (other than sexual bullying)

Principal/ Superintendent

* On confirmation of the bullying event

Relevant authorities at the Kaohsiung City Government

Within 24 hours

Child or youth uses illegal drugs, illegal uses of regulated drugs and other harmful substances

Principal/ Superintendent

Relevant authorities at the Kaohsiung City Government

Within 24 hours

Child or youth is abandoned, abused or in immediate danger to their lives

Principal/ Superintendent

Relevant authorities at the Kaohsiung City Government

Within 24 hours

Child or youth is under inappropriate care due to financial, parenting, material and medical problems in the family

Principal/ Superintendent

Relevant authorities at the Kaohsiung City Government

No specified deadline but as soons as reasonable.

Juvenile crimes

Principal/ Superintendent

May report to Juvenile Court

No specified deadline but as soons as reasonable if reporting.

Anti-social behaviors

Principal/ Superintendent

May  report to the police when necessary

No specified deadline but as soon as reasonable if reporting.

Domestic Violence

Principal/ Superintendent

Social Affair Bureau of Kaohsiung City Government

Within 24 hours

Communicable Diseases

Designated Person

Department of Health, Kaohsiung City Government

Within 24 hours

Food Poisoning

Designated Person

Department of Health, Kaohsiung City Government

Within 24 hours

Suicidal (high risk)

Principal/Superintendent

Relevant authorities at the Kaohsiung City Government

Within 24 hours

Danger to Hurt Self

Below are the procedures that we follow at KAS if you hear about a student that might possibly be in danger. It is not your responsibility to determine if the student is in danger or to investigate. However, you are a mandated reporter.

  1. Contact the counselor, principal or administrator immediately. Do not write this information in an email but instead make sure you make a phone call or face to face conversation about the information that you learned.
  1. If the student is with you, NEVER leave the student alone. Instead stay with the student and walk together to the counselor office.
  2. Remember there should never be a time lapse (except the time it takes you to find a phone number) between the time you find out the information and the time you report the information to the counselor, principal or parent.

  1. It is the principals and counselors responsibility to determine if a student is in danger and there is probable cause for next steps. If so the following steps will begin:

  1. Notify the student’s parent or guardian

  1. Have the parent or guardian sign the agreement (Notification to Parents for Self Harm) form to indicate that the student needs to receive an assessment from a  mental health professional as soon as possible.

  1. Share local contact list of available mental health resources in Kaohsiung with the student and the family.

  1. Send the student home for the day.

  1. A written summary of the incident will be generated and forwarded to the principal.

  1. KAS will request the family to seek outside medical or mental health assessment and/or treatment to determine if the student can safely return to school.

  1. The Child Protection Response Team will determine  if the incident needs to be reported to relevant authorities (high risk assessment from).

  1. The Child Protection Response Team will determine when and under what circumstances a student can safely return to school while maintaining a safe and healthy learning environment for all of our students.

  1. A Support Plan will be created by the principal and counselor and implemented with teachers. Support plan will be used to determine how a student returns to school and under what conditions the student can remain in school.

*Please note KAS does not have the 1:1 support, mental health professionals or other additional staffing needed to provide the individual ongoing support and monitoring to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all of our students.

  Steps for parents to  complete before sending your student back to school: 貴子弟返校前的步驟:

          *Please see the Resource for Mental Health Services in Kaohsiung for local therapy and support. 相關心理治療及

            資源等資訊,敬請參閱高雄市心理健康、精神醫療資源表

*KAS administrative team will ensure that all incidents are reported to the Ministry of Education and other governmental agencies as appropriate and as required by Taiwan law.


[1] https://law.moj.gov.tw/ENG/LawClass/LawAll.aspx?pcode=D0050001

[2] Gender Equity Education Act

[3] Gender Equity Education Act

[4] From the Center for Family Safety and Healing