Schools are on the frontlines of child safeguarding. Safeguarding is defined as policies, procedures and practices that an organization employs to actively prevent harm, abuse and distress. All children deserve a nurturing and happy start to life and along with parents and caregivers, schools are primarily responsible for safeguarding children. I was reminded of this recently when I completed the Youth Protection Training course sponsored by the Boy Scouts of America. All adults involved with supervising a scouting troop need to complete the mandatory training as well as undergo a police background check. TIS is acting as a charter organization for a newly formed Boy Scout Troop in our community. I am serving as the representative of Charter Organization and needed to complete the 72-minute online training program. Annually I try to do something to improve my knowledge and remind me of the importance of child safeguarding and this was a good way to do this for the 2021-2022 school year.
My big takeaway from the training was the concept of “2-Deep“. This is the practice of always having two adult supervisors at all outings or meetings. This also applies to digital communications. Always copy or include another adult, preferably the parents, when communicating to students digitally. The 2-Deep format is one of the numerous Barriers to Abuse the Boy Scouts use. Others include no 1-on-1 contact with a student without others knowing of the meeting, appropriate accommodations, a buddy system, respecting privacy, etc.
- The training also highlighted that 25% of all sexual abuse are youth-on-youth cases and it is important to supervise when older students are with younger students.
- I also liked the quote of being suspicious of adults who, “seem to like kids, more than the kid’s parents do”.
- Sexual predators target organizations looking for lack of policies and practices regarding safeguarding.
- The final unit focused on stopping bullying and keys to this were educating everyone to look out for others (supporting bystanders), stopping the behavior and acting respectfully and impartially as the adult.
I am looking forward to adding Boy Scouts to our after-school activities program at TIS. Young people more than ever, need outdoor skills and challenges that take them away from screens and into nature. We also need to educate the next generation of citizens, as the IB puts it, to create a better and more peaceful world.