Keeping Kids Safe: Child Protection at AISB

Keeping children safe is every school’s first responsibility. This responsibility begins with providing a safe environment for learning at school and extends to protecting children from harm at home and in the world beyond.

To this end, AISB has policies and practices that support us in maintaining a culture of Child Protection. Our approach is based in the powerful framework developed by the Association of International Schools in Africa. The AISA approach embraces three broad strategies:

  1. Build and maintain a school culture of protection, through
    1. Teaching child empowerment, respect and humane regard
    2. Educating and empowering students to protect themselves from harm
    3. Hiring and screening staff appropriately
    4. Ensuring staff understand and comply with policy and procedures related to Child Protection
  2. Build Child Protection into school policy (see AISB’s Child Protection Policy statement, below)
  3. Establish effective procedures for handling, reporting and responding to signs and disclosures of possible abuse.

AISB faculty engage in regular trainings, workshops and formal discussion on Child Protection and its implications for the classrooms and culture of the school. AISA’s Child Protection Curriculum is designed to teach students how to protect themselves from harm, and is is implemented in an expanded form in AISB’s Child Protection Curriculum, at all levels.

In addition to the planned learning experiences, we help students learn to protect themselves through teaching the importance of self-worth, safety awareness, efficacy and empowerment, in children’s everyday experiences of the classroom, through school routines and norms, and in their relationships with adults at school.

The AISB Board of Trustees has formalized the school’s measures for child protection in the policies that govern the school. Parents should be aware of AISB’s Child Protection Policy and its implications.

AISB Child Protection Policy
Child abuse and neglect are violations of a child’s basic human rights and as such present obstacles to the child’s education as well as to their physical, emotional, and intellectual development. Schools fill an institutional role in society as protectors of children.

Educators, having the opportunity to observe and interact with children over time, are in a unique position to identify children who are in need of help and protection. As such, educators have a professional and ethical obligation to identify child abuse and neglect and to take steps to ensure that the child and family avail themselves of the services needed to remedy the situation.

All staff employed at the American International School of Bamako must report to the Director all suspected incidences of child abuse or neglect whenever the staff member has reasonable cause to believe that a child has suffered, or is at significant risk of suffering, abuse or neglect. Reporting and follow up of all suspected incidences of child abuse or neglect will proceed in accordance with the procedures outlined in the AISB Counseling Crises Manual. Furthermore, cases of suspected child abuse or neglect may be reported to the appropriate employer, to the respective embassy in Bamako, to the appropriate child protection agency in the home country, and/or to local authorities.

This policy will be distributed to all staff annually and be included in the application packets to families. Training, guided by the contents of the Counseling Crises Manual, will be provided on an annual basis to ensure the AISB staff is informed and educated about child protection issues, indicators of abuse or neglect, and how to respond to disclosure of abuse or neglect. Every effort will be made to implement hiring practices to insure the safety of children. In the case of a staff member reported as an alleged offender, the Director will conduct a full investigation, keeping the safety of the child as the highest priority. (Approved: May 2014)

Based on Child Protection Policies from Lincoln Community School, Accra, Ghana and the American School of Bombay, Mumbai, India.