child safeguarding at AISK
To provide a safe, caring and nurturing environment in which we can inspire integrity, excellence, respect and empower student engagement both in Jamaica and the greater region, the American International School of Kingston will:
- Review the AISK Child Safeguarding Policy annually.
- Hold ourselves to a high standard of effective recruitment practices with specific attention to Child Safeguarding. All personnel employed directly by AISK, and all outsourced staff are to have completed all relevant background, reference, and police checks.
- Ensure all service providers used for on and off campus field trips and activities meet Child Safeguarding expectations as outlined by AISK.
- Ensure that all parent volunteers and helpers are aware of their responsibilities to protect children, young people and adults at all times.
- Provide ongoing professional development for all staff and parent volunteers on Child Safeguarding, as well as how to recognize and report suspected abuse/neglect.
- Include within the formal AISK curriculum, age-appropriate teaching and learning related to bullying; body science, puberty, sexual health and sexual safety; being a responsible digital learner and citizen.
- Uphold the ‘Standards of Practice’. Outline to our student body their expectations to themselves and others as stated in the ‘Code of Conduct’ (Elementary School) and the ‘General Expectations of Student Behavior’ (Middle School / High School), as detailed in the ES and MS/HS Student/Parent Handbooks.
- Ensure all parents are aware of school policies in the ES and MS/HS Student/Parent Handbooks and have signed the Student/Parent Acknowledgement Form.
- Ensure the AISK campus is a safe and secure space for all children.
- Maintain a positive working relationship with the relevant agencies within Kingston and Jamaica.
- Abide by Jamaican Law as it relates to Child Safeguarding and Protection.
- Ensure that the AISK Child Safeguarding Policy encompasses all cultures.
AISK Standards of Practice
This Standards of Practice (“Standards”) serves as a guide to ethical conduct and professional behavior standards at American International School of Kingston. American International School of Kingston is committed to the safety and protection of children and all members of our school community. The Standards applies to all faculty, staff, employees, volunteers, and students who represent the school and who interact with children or young people in both a direct and/or unsupervised capacity.
Educators are dedicated in their care and commitment to students. They treat students and staff equitably and with respect. Educators are sensitive to factors that influence learning. Educators complete assigned professional duties and tasks effectively. Educators strive to be current in their professional knowledge and recognize the importance to daily practice. They understand and reflect on student development, learning, pedagogy, curriculum, ethics, and refine their professional practice through ongoing inquiry, dialogue and reflection. Educators promote and participate in shared leadership responsibilities within the AISK community that enhance the learning environment for all students. Educators, in their position of trust, demonstrate responsibility in their relationships with students, parents, guardians, colleagues, other professionals, and the public. Honesty, reliability, and moral action are embodied in professional integrity. Intrinsic to ethical expectations are trust and fair-mindedness. Educators honor human dignity, emotional wellness, and cognitive development. In their practice, educators model respect for spiritual and cultural values, social justice, and confidentiality. The public and private conduct of faculty, staff, employees, students, and volunteers acting on behalf of American International School of Kingston can inspire and motivate those with whom they interact, or can cause great harm if inappropriate. We must, at all times, be aware of the responsibilities that accompany our work, including procuring safe and healthy environments for all of our students. The Purpose of this Standards of Practice is to:
- inspire a shared vision of the educator where mutual respect is promoted;
- identify values, knowledge, and skills that are distinctive to educators;
- guide professional judgment and actions of all educators;
- ensure the health, welfare, and safety of our students and other members of our school community;
- assure our parent and community stakeholders, accreditation agencies, and others of the accountability of the educators/staff who work at our school.
Our School Community Standards: The following standards are intended to outline expectations and accountability for those individuals at our school who assume the important responsibility of working with children.
Because of the nature of their trusted positions, educators and staff members must exhibit good moral character. Although American International School of Kingston understands that no background checks are 100% reliable, AISK conducts professional background screening of the school’s personnel prior to employment, providing reasonable assurance as to the lack of conviction of any crime involving:
- A conviction of any crime that would call into questions the individual’s worthiness to work with children. All staff working at the American International School of Kingston must obtain a police clearance / criminal background check certificate.
School employees and support staff should always maintain a professional relationship with all students, both in and out of the classroom. They are also responsible for maintaining physical and emotional boundaries in such interactions. Unethical and/or Illegal Conduct that also violates such boundaries includes, but is not limited to:
- Striking, hurting, or causing a student physical pain.
- Physical contact that exploits, abuses, or harasses.
- Engaging in any harassing behavior on the basis of race, gender, sex, sexual identity, national origin, religion, or disability.
- Covert or overt sexual behaviors involving students.
- Furnishing or allowing students to consume tobacco, alcohol, illegal/unauthorized drugs or inappropriate reading materials.
- Any other act of child abuse—including physical and verbal abuse, child endangerment, or acts of cruelty to children. Communication with Children – is governed by the key safety concept of transparency.
The following steps will reduce the risk of private or otherwise inappropriate communication between American International School of Kingston parents, administration, teachers, personnel, volunteers, and children:
- Where possible, e-mail exchanges between a student and a person acting on behalf of the school are to be made using a school e-mail address.
- Faculty, staff, and volunteers who use any form of online communications including social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and text messaging to communicate with minors may only do so for activities involving school business.
General Physical Contact
Physical contact with children can be misconstrued both by the recipient and by those who observe it, and should occur only when completely nonsexual and otherwise appropriate, and never in private. School employees and support staff should show prudent discretion before touching another person, especially children and youth, and be aware of how physical touch will be perceived or received, and whether it would be an appropriate expression of greeting, care, concern, or celebration. One-on-one Meetings & After-School Related Activities – Interactions with a child or youth are best held in a public area or in a room where the interaction can be (or is being) observed; or in a room with an open door or window that provides visibility; including informing another adult when appropriate. The same prudence should be applied for after-school activities. Student Discipline – School personnel and volunteers are prohibited at all times from physically disciplining a child and should adhere to the school’s handbook policies on discipline.
Ethical conduct between colleagues and other community members upholds the following principles:
- A colleague does not engage in any verbal, physical, or sexual harassment of another colleague. Sexual harassment includes but is not limited to unwelcome sexual advances and invitations, verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, physical gestures of a sexual nature. Harassment can also be based on characteristics other than sexual or gender-related, such as race, religion, national origin, sexual identity, or disability. It can take the form of epithets, insults or other forms of mistreatment.
- A colleague does not make false statements about other colleagues; falsify or misrepresent his or her credentials, school-related activities, or the school community.
- A colleague does not reveal confidential information about colleagues unless required by law.
Vendors - School personnel are prohibited from accepting gifts from vendors or potential vendors for personal gain in which the appearance of a conflict of interest may exist.
Tutoring – School personnel should adhere to the school’s handbook policies with regard to tutoring students or other services.
School personnel must intervene when there is evidence of, or there is reasonable cause to suspect, that children are being abused in any way; or any other violation of this Code. Suspected abuse or neglect must be reported to the appropriate school authorities. In particular, the following are prohibited:
- Knowing failure to report physical abuse or sexual misconduct by another school employee, parent or adult.
- Knowing failure to inform the Head of School, Principal or Counselor about the commission of an act of unprofessional conduct by another educational practitioner.
Members of the school community to which this Code applies must read this Code in its entirety and periodically sign-off; that is, agreeing to all of the Code’s standards as summarized below.
American International School of Kingston’s Statement of Acknowledgement of Standards of Practice for Signature I promise to strictly follow all of the rules and guidelines as contained in the school’s Standards of Practice as a condition of my providing services to the children and youth participating in the school’s programs. The Standards includes the following key areas of my responsibility: I will:
- To the best of my ability, promote the good health, welfare, and safety of all members of our school community and uphold high ethical standards.
- Treat everyone with respect, patience, integrity, courtesy, dignity, and consideration.
- Conduct one-on-one meetings with children and/or youth in settings that are open and visible to others; as well as never be alone at school activities without another adult being notified or present.
- Use positive reinforcement rather than criticism, competition, or comparison when working with children and/or youth, while also adhering to the school’s policies on student discipline.
- Maintain appropriate physical boundaries at all times and touch children – when necessary – only in ways that are appropriate, public, and non-sexual.
- Cooperate fully in any investigation of abuse of children and/or youth.
- Avoid transactions with students, parents, or vendors that may be perceived as conflicts of interest.
- Comply fully with the school’s policies on anti-harassment, representation and confidentiality standards, safeguarding of property and funds, and the honoring of contracts.
- Comply fully with the school’s mandatory reporting requirements and the school’s policy to report suspected child abuse, and other violations of the Code or other school policies.
I will not:
- Touch or speak to a child and/or youth in a sexual or another inappropriate manner.
- Inflict any physical or emotional abuse such as striking, spanking, shaking, slapping, humiliating, ridiculing, threatening, or degrading children and/or youth.
- Accept or give gifts to children or youth without the knowledge of their parents or guardians.
- Communicate with children over unmonitored e-mail.
- Use (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) or similar forms of electronic or social media to communicate with students except for activities strictly involving school business.
Acknowledgment and agreement to comply with the American International School of Kingston Standards of Practice My signature confirms that I have read this Standards of Practice and that as a person working with children and youth I agree to follow these standards. I understand that any action inconsistent with this Standards of Practice or failure to take action mandated by this Standards of Practice may result in disciplinary action up to and including removal from American International School of Kingston.
- Verbal discussion with administration
- Verbal warning – with documentation placed on file
- Letter of expectation placed on file
- Disciplinary action