Child abuse and neglect are a worldwide concern and are present in every country, community and school. Abuse and neglect are a violation of a child’s rights and are obstacles to healthy physical and mental development.
Tsukuba International School takes its role advocating for and safeguarding children very seriously. All students at Tsukuba International School have the right to be safe from abuse and neglect. Child abuse and neglect of any kind in the home, in their daily lives, while at school and while on any school-related activity is absolutely not tolerated. All school staff have a contractual obligation and duty to uphold these rights and report suspicions of child abuse and neglect whether involving a teacher or member of staff, a parent or caregiver, a member of the community, or another student.
The school child protection policy is in accordance with the recommendations of the International Task Force on Child Protection, endorses the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, of which Japan is a signatory, and is in accordance with Japanese Law.
The following is the school’s code of conduct related to protecting the children in our community.
Code of Conduct Related to Child Protection
No employee of Tsukuba International School may engage in any activity constituting abuse. All faculty, staff, employees and volunteers who represent the school and who interact with children or young people in both a direct and/or unsupervised capacity are required to adhere to this code of conduct.
Teaching faculty and staff should consider this code of conduct as an extension of the duties and obligations outlined in the Teacher Handbook.
Faculty, staff, employees and volunteers must:
- At all times, be aware of the responsibilities that accompany our work.
- Provide a safe environment for children and youth whilst at school.
- Be aware of our own and other persons’ vulnerability, especially when working alone with children and youth.
- Be responsible for maintaining physical, emotional, and sexual boundaries in such interactions.
- Avoid any covert or overt sexual behaviors with those for whom we have responsibility. This includes seductive speech or gestures as well as physical contact that exploits, abuses, or harasses.
- Show prudent discretion before touching or making physical contact with another person, especially children and youth, and be aware of how physical touch will be perceived or received.
- Avoid any communication, conduct or physical contact with another person, especially children and youth, which could lead any reasonable person to question the motivation or intention of the act.
- Ensure that one-to-one meetings with students are held in a public area; where another staff member is present; or in a room where the interaction can be observed. Where this is not possible another staff member or supervisor should be notified about the meeting. Adults and students should be positioned in such a way that the adult does not block the exit to the room.
- Ensure that doors and windows are kept free of obstructions or coverings that would obscure the view into the room.
- Intervene when there is evidence of, or there is reasonable cause to suspect, that children are being abused in any way.
- Report suspected abuse or neglect as described in the Child Protection Policy of the school.
- Refrain from the illegal possession and/or illegal use of drugs at all times, and from the use of tobacco products, alcohol and/or drugs when working with students.
- Never buy alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, videos, or reading material that is inappropriate and give it to young people.
- Not accept gifts from, or give gifts to, students that might lead any reasonable person to question the relationship between the giver and receiver, or the intent behind the gift. Ensure that parents are notified when a gift is given or received (e.g. by writing a thank you note) and that all gift giving and receiving occurs in a transparent and open manner.
- Not loan or give money to students.
- Not store any photographs of children on private devices, such as on a private/non-school computer or personal cell phone, which could lead any reasonable person to question the use of such photos. If photographs are taken on a private device (e.g. a teacher’s phone) for school use, in principle, they should be uploaded as soon as possible and then deleted from the device.
- Not share photographs of individual children or groups of children on any personal social media accounts or internet forum without first obtaining permission from both the school and the child’s parents.
- Ensure that communication with students is governed by the key safety concept of transparency, that is to say that the content of the communication is not secret, with the assumption that it could be read by a parent or supervisor without raising a cause for concern.
- Ensure that any email exchanges with students are made using a school email address.
- Ensure that the relevant IB coordinator is cc’d on any email exchanges with students. In the case of a coordinator emailing a student, the coordinator will cc the principal.
- Not add students or parents as a ‘friend’ or contact on Facebook or other social media accounts, unless:
- The student sending such a request is over 20 years of age and no longer enrolled as a student at the school.
- The parent sending such a request no longer has a child currently enrolled at the school.
- Ensure that any form of online communication including email, social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and text messaging to communicate with students relates only to activities involving school business.
- Understand that the computer and email accounts that are issued to members of the school community are the property of the school, and can therefore be seized and searched at any time.