All ISB Staff recognize the responsibility to provide a safe, positive and respectful environment in which students can learn and grow. To do this, the school must take every step to safeguard every child's well-being. This policy is in-line with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Child and Act No. 359/1999 Coll., on the social and legal protection of children from the Czech Legal Code. It instructs ISB staff members on the measures to be taken in the event that an ISB student reports abuse/neglect or their behaviour and/or physical condition strongly indicate(s) that they might be the victim of abuse. It also sets forth the conditions by which ISB staff members are required to abide during their employment with the school.
This policy is freely available to parents.
- Code of Conduct for ISB Staff
- Definitions of Abuse & Neglect
- Protocols for Reporting Suspicion of Abuse or Neglect
- Staff members and.or authorities designated to be reported to in cases of child protection concerns
Section 1. Code of Conduct for ISB Staff
- We accept and respect each other.
- We endorse the principle that men and women, boys and girls are equal.
- We leave room for personal or cultural differences, provided that they fit into the code of conduct.
- We create a climate in which children and adults feel safe.
- We create a climate in which conditions are present to form a positive self-image.
- We emphasis self-reliance and resilience.
- In school we take good care of our own materials, those of others, and those of the school. Together we ensure that the school is neat and clean.
- The Code of Conduct is regularly discussed at staff meetings and in the classroom.
- Everyone in the school (staff, students and parents) is expected to adhere to the Code of Conduct.
Rules of Conduct for Staff
Dealing with colleagues
- Accept each other, trust each other, support each other.
- Be honest, compassionate, helpful, and show interest.
- Discuss problems and ask for clarification if something is bothering you.
- Do not gossip about others.
- Express your opinion in an appropriate forum and manner.
- Contribute to a pleasant work environment for everyone.
- Greet each other in the morning and if possible, say goodbye at the end of the day.
- Refrain from sexist language or jokes.
- Racist or discriminatory language is prohibited.
- Express yourself if you believe that a colleague crossed a border in remarks or behavior.
Dealing with students
- Take every child seriously and respect every child.
- Be open and honest.
- Talk under all circumstances quietly and correctly.
- Refrain from sexist language or jokes.
- Do not say something bad about a child in front of others.
- Always end an unpleasant situation in a positive way, do not send a child home with a negative feeling.
Students at Teachers’ homes
- Students should not be invited to a teacher’s home alone. A group of students can visit a teacher at home only after agreement by the parents and the management of the school.
Staying after school
- Students should not stay in after school longer than 15 minutes (e.g. short talk, little task). Should a student stay longer in school, the parents should be informed.
Alone with a student in a confined space
- Teachers should avoid being alone with a student in a confined space (e.g. storage room). If this cannot be prevented, the door must remain open.
- Teachers should not make remarks about clothing that can be interpreted as offensive or deliberately provocative. In the classroom, it is not allowed to wear headgear unless for religious reasons. Staff should be not wear provocative clothing.
Contact staff/students outside school
- Teachers are not allowed to have private contact with students outside school, unless parents and/or colleagues are informed. Personal emailing (not school or academically related), chatting, texting, twittering with students is not allowed; these kinds of messages could be misunderstood.
Physical contact (general)
- In general, physical contact between teacher and students is inappropriate. With younger children (Kindergarten, Year 1 and 2) some physical contact is expected. Also, in case of motor exercises, physical contact may be expedient or necessary. The teacher should not touch the student unnecessarily or when it is unwanted.
Hugging and sitting on lap
- Children should never be taken unwanted on a teacher’s lap. In Kindergarten and early primary, children can be taken on a teacher’s lap, but only when indicated by the child. From year 3, this should no longer happen.
Restraining students for their own safety
- It may occur that a student loses his/her temper and needs to be prevented from doing self-harm. In such cases the student may have to be restrained through physical contact. This may also be required to protect other students or oneself. In such situations, the restraining staff member must do everything they can to ensure that another staff member is present as quickly as possible.
Separating fighting students
- In case fighting students cannot be separated by talking, they should be separated by an adult with minimal physical.
- A pat on the head or a pat on the back can be appropriate. In general, it is important to note whether the child likes it or not.
Comforting and rewarding
- Children have the right to indicate what they like or not during comforting and rewarding. Physical contact during comforting can be very supportive. If a teacher notices that the child does not want it, then he/she should not do it.
- Spontaneous reactions are possible, also in higher grades, but the feelings of the children should always be respected.
- All forms of physical punishment are prohibited.
- Physical violence will not be tolerated under any circumstance.
Dressing and undressing
- In Kindergarten, children can be assisted during dressing and undressing. From year 3 this should no longer happen, unless requested by the child.
Separate changing rooms
- From year 2, boys and girls should change in separate rooms. Both teachers and students should knock on the door before entering the changing room.
- Boys and girls use separate toilets and showers.
Assistance and explanations
- Assistance and explanations are given in compliance with this Code of Conduct. Physical contact during PE is sometimes a necessity.
- Physical contact and/or (partly) undressing an individual is often a necessity for treatment. During treatment teachers must ensure, to the furthest possible extent, that someone is present. In providing assistance both the situation in the school and the wishes of the child should be taken into account.
- Teachers should avoid being alone with a student in the gym or its side rooms.
School trips / camp
- School camps are led by both male and female attendants. The Code of Conduct applies to school camps.
- Boys and girls sleep in separate rooms. If necessary, an attendant may sleep in the same room as the children.
- The attendants sleep in a separate room. If necessary, a child may sleep in the sleeping room of the attendants, always at least 2 adults.
- Activities always take place in groups. Students are never sent alone to some location (e.g. forest), nor accompanied by just one attendant.
Section 2. Defining Abuse and Neglect
It is very important to note that voicing suspicion regarding the abuse or neglect of a child must be done with absolute discretion and sensitivity to all parties involved. At the same time, it is the child's interests which are paramount.
It is important to note that conventions regarding the rearing children vary considerably across the globe. It is therefore vital to delineate physical abuse from certain child-rearing tactics or cultural traditions/practices. Physical abuse occurs when a student's relationship with a more powerful individual (physically or emotionally) violates their rights and serves the needs of the more powerful individual (family member, teacher, friend).
Physical abuse can consist of any of the following:
- purposely inflicting bodily damage to a child in the form of bruises, burns, lacerations, fractured or broken bones and/or impairment of bodily functions;
- acting in a manner that creates a substantial risk for any of the above while disregarding the child's safety, pain or mental suffering;
- violating the criminal code;
- omitting to act so as to prevent any of the above.
Possible indicators of physical abuse include:
- unexplained bruises, welts, burns or lacerations on any part of the body
- multiple bruises with a variety of colouring indicating ongoing impacts over time
- injuries that resemble the shape or pattern of an object (belt, hand, spoon, cigarette, etc.)
- injuries that typically appear after prolonged absence from school
- injuries that are in agreement with the reports of the child
- wearing clothing to cover up injuries even during hot weather
- refusing to change for PE
- protesting or crying when it is time to go home
- 'shrinking away' when approached by adults
- showing aggression towards others
- demonstrating fear of physical contact
- discussing being physically punished in a manner that is excessive.
Sexual abuse is to commit or allow to be committed a sexual offense against a child as defined in the local criminal code or international convention. It predominantly consists of touching in some way, either directly or through clothing, any part of a child's body, though in particular the genitals, face, breasts and anus, in a manner that meets the needs of the individual doing the touching and that is in no way committed for the purposes or child-care or hygiene.
It is crucial to note that while physical abuse is typically unplanned and the result of the particular emotions of a discrete situation, sexual abuse requires a build-up of trust between the offender and the child. The planning required often results in conflicting yet secretly-kept emotions on the part of the victim and so can be difficult to detect and subsequently report.
Possible indicators of sexual abuse can include:
- a sexual knowledge on the child's part that is not typical of their age-level
- unconventional patterns of interpersonal relationships
- venereal disease
- evidence of physical trauma to the oral, genital and anal regions of the body
- evident discomfort walking or sitting on the part of the child
- phobia of public washrooms/changing areas
- the child does not want to go home but is unwilling to state the reason
- the child expresses a reluctance to be with an individual alone
- pregnancy at an especially young age
- extremely protective parenting
- drastic and sudden personality changes
- regressing to behaviour patterns more typical of younger children (i.e. thumb-sucking)
- refusing to participate in physical activities or even change for PE
- reports nightmares/terrors or bed-wetting
- sudden loss of appetite or compulsive eating
- sudden loss of ability to concentrate
- becomes isolated or withdrawn.
Emotional abuse is persistent and, over time, it severely damages a child’s emotional health and development.
- humiliating, putting down or constantly criticising a child
- shouting at or threatening a child or calling them names
- mocking a child or making them perform degrading acts
- constantly blaming or scapegoating a child for things which are not their fault
- trying to control a child’s life and not recognising their individuality
- not allowing them to have friends or develop socially
- pushing a child too hard or not recognising their limitations
- manipulating a child
- exposing a child to distressing events or interactions such as drug taking, heavy drinking or domestic abuse
- persistently ignoring them
- being cold and emotionally unavailable during interactions with a child
- never saying anything kind, positive or encouraging to a child and failing to praise their achievements and successes.
Possible indicators of sexual abuse can include:
There aren’t usually any obvious physical signs of emotional abuse but you may spot signs in a child's actions or emotions.
It’s important to remember that some children are naturally quiet and self-contained whilst others are more open and affectionate. Mood swings and challenging behaviour are also a normal part of growing up for teenagers and children going through puberty. Be alert to behaviours which appear to be out of character for the individual child or are particularly unusual for their stage of development.
Babies and pre-school children who are being emotionally abused may: be overly-affectionate towards strangers or people they haven’t known for very long
- not appear to have a close relationship with their parent, for example when being taken to or collected from nursery
- lack confidence or become wary or anxious
- be unable to play
- be aggressive or nasty towards other children and animals.
Older children may:
- use language, act in a way or know about things that you wouldn’t expect for their age
- struggle to control strong emotions or have extreme outbursts
- seem isolated from their parents
- lack social skills or have few, if any, friends
- fear making mistakes
- fear their parent being approached regarding their behaviour
Neglect is defined as the failure on the part of the parents/legal guardians to provide for the basic physical, emotional and medical needs of the child within their environment. Physical needs consist of clothing, food and supervision. Emotional needs consist of ensuring that the child is aware that at least one suitable adult is available at all times to provide the appropriate attention. Medical needs consist of ensuring that a suitable professional is consulted with regards to any physical or emotional needs of the child that cannot be met by the legal guardian.
Possible indicators or neglect can include:
- the child is consistently unwashed, inappropriately clothed or hungry
- parents/legal guardians demonstrate a lack of interest in the child's academic performance
- parents/legal guardians do not respond to repeated communications from school
- the child communicates in some way that he/she does not want to go home
- parents/legal guardians cannot be reached in the event of an emergency AND have not provided an emergency contact
- lacking in medical care (glasses, immunizations, dental care)
- frequent absences
- constant tiredness
- begs/steals money or food
- sudden speech disorder
- neurotic behaviour
- demonstrates behaviour more typical of either a much younger child or of an adult
- self-depreciation (says “I'm stupid” or “I'm worthless”)
- reports an extreme lack of attachment to parent(s)
All indicators listed in all three sections by themselves do not indicate abuse or neglect. Unless they occur with others or the evidence is severe enough that little doubt remains, they are collected as evidence that will be used by school administration to determine the course of action.
Section 3. Protocols for Staff if Abuse or Neglect is Reported or Suspected
Direct reporting from a child
If a child chooses to disclose to a staff member, that staff member is obligated to receive that disclosure immediately. Children often have varying reasons for choosing to whom they will share their experiences and if they are not heard out the first time, they may be discouraged from sharing their story again.
When receiving a disclosure, staff members are strongly advised to do the following to the best of their ability:
- Listen very calmly and carefully to the child
- avoid talking too much and especially, reacting with shock, horror, disbelief; this could cause the child to cease their disclosure
- Assure the child that they have made the correct choice to share their experience
- Assure the child that they are not to blame for their experience
- Assure them that they will receive help
- Explain what you will do next
- DO NOT promise that you will keep the secret to yourself
After receiving the child’s disclosure, staff members must:
- Fill out a hard copy of the concerns form and as much as possible, quote the child
- Give the completed form to the Designated Safeguard Lead
Reported by a third party or observed
If an ISB staff member deems that there is sufficient evidence indicating that a student is suffering from abuse and/or neglect OR they receive a report from a third party that a student is being abused/neglected, they must complete a Concerns Form and submit it in hard copy to the Designated Safeguard Lead. Once completed, the Concerns Form is a highly confidential document that must be kept on file in a locked cabinet in the office of the DSL.
Upon receiving a Concerns Form, the DSL will determine which member of the SLT to approach in order to determine the best course of action to follow. Together they will decide whether or not to:
- Monitor the situation further before taking any action
- Contacting the family
- Speaking with the student
- Contact the police/social services/medical services
- Contact the child psychology centre
As soon as a formal investigation is launched, all evidence and meeting notes will be documented including dates and signatures.
Always, strict confidentiality will be observed, with all contracted ISB staff members privy to the case information signing statements that they will not discuss it with any individual except those responsible for treating the case.
The purpose of the course of action is always to secure that which is in the best interests of the child. Given that, ISB will be will assist in whatever way necessary to ensure that the child (and family) receive appropriate support and guidance.
In the event that an ISB staff member is suspected or accused of abusing a child and a formal investigation is launched, they will be suspended, with pay, until the case is resolved.
Section 4. Staff members or Authorities designated to be reported to in cases of child protection concerns:
School leadership team (available at school):
Designated Safeguard Lead: Ms. Chelsea McGill (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Head of School: Mr. Jan Svihalek, phone: +420776490120
KG/Primary Principal: Mrs. Sona Stepankova, phone: +420725726095
Secondary/HS Principal: Mr. Dylan Vance, phone: +420731558586
Board of Directors (usually not present at school):
Mr. Pavel Ivanyi, phone: +420737204455
Mrs. Pauline Ivanyi, phone: +420736640693
Mr. Jakub Stepanik, phone: +420608028501
“Czech Help line”, phone: +420 116 111
This agency has been contacted by the school and they confirm that there are always English-speaking operators on duty to receive calls.
26/8/2018 - Dylan Vance
1.9. 2017 - Jan
14/8/2018 - Jan