AIS-Salzburg Child Protection Policy and Procedures
I. Child Protection Policy in the AIS-Salzburg Community
The American International School-Salzburg is committed to protecting the health and welfare of all students within our community. We believe that the members of our school staff must be trained, informed and willing to secure our students’ psychological, social and physical well-being at all times as a mandated priority. We understand that failure to protect children from abuse and neglect can lead minimally to decreased cognitive development, incompetencies in behavioral and social skills as well as limited educational attainment.
The administration of AIS-Salzburg has developed and implemented clearly-defined procedures and policies designed to achieve this fundamental goal and devotes resources to its implementation annually. These policies and procedures reflect best practice in international schools generally, our accreditor’s standards, and adheres to all relevant conventions, laws and ordinances applicable. As a full-boarding school, we have an important role to play in the protection of young people as an imperative that cannot be ignored or mitigated by other considerations: it is of the highest priority.
AIS-Salzburg ensures that our child protection and safeguarding policy and procedures are up-to-date and provide the entire school community with the necessary information, guidelines as well as detailed procedural actions that can be expected in response to any perceived, suspected or proven violation of the health, security and well-being of the students in our care.
II. Scope of the AIS-Salzburg Child Protection Policy and Procedures
AIS-Salzburg agrees with and has adopted the definition of child abuse and neglect as stated by the World Health Organization:
Child maltreatment is the abuse and neglect that occurs to children under 18 years of age. It includes all types of physical and/or emotional ill-treatment, sexual abuse, neglect, negligence and commercial or other exploitation, which results in actual or potential harm to the child’s health, survival, development or dignity in the context of a relationship of responsibility, trust or power.
At AIS-Salzburg, this definition is expanded to include all students under our care as day students or as boarders, including those 18 years of age or older.
The AIS-Salzburg staff is trained regularly in child protection awareness and procedures through completion of coursework designed specifically for our context as an international boarding school and tailored to the various roles of our staff members. These certifications in child protection are then updated annually by all staff members who work directly with our students and are monitored by the administration. Training is focused on particular duties relevant to the employee’s responsibilities whether these are centered in the classroom, in the gym or on the playing field, on excursions or outings, or in the school’s dormitories.
The child protection policy and procedures represented here and in other school documents and publications is applicable for the entire length of time that a student is enrolled during the school year or during the Summer Language Program. Further, this policy and these procedures are equally applicable on outings, excursions or other school-organized programming regardless of where or when these take place —on campus or off.
III. Fundamental Responsibilities of Child Protection and Safeguarding
AIS-Salzburg’s Child Protection Policy and Procedures rest upon three fundamental supports:
The child protection measures of the school are proactively implemented by all members of the staff and within all aspects of programming. Effective child protection can only be maintained following required training and the understanding of all applicable laws and ordinances. Safeguarding is a daily, fundamental duty, which establishes appropriate levels of safety and security as an essential aspect of protection.
Protection entails the active reporting, recording and response to child protection issues which ensure that standards of care are defended and upheld with determination and professionalism.
Incidents of abuse or neglect mandate a high level of support be provided to the victims and their families. This support may include monitoring measures, assurance of confidentiality, protection from further harm or neglect as well as the involvement of the authorities as required by law.
IV. Aims and Outline of the AIS-Salzburg Child Protection Policy and Procedures
- Primary Aim: It is the primary aim of AIS-Salzburg to consistently provide a safe, secure environment for all of our students while they are enrolled at the school and involved in any and all programming during the school year or during the summer program. Appropriate and adequate protection of each student’s health and well-being is our highest priority. It is the understanding of the school administration, faculty and staff that the educational provision at AIS-Salzburg is founded upon prudent and responsible child protection safeguarding measures.
- Implementation of Standards: to support and responsibly implement the relevant precepts of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, Austrian national laws and ordinances, accreditation standards and best practices in international schools as they apply to our community of learners in our particular context. • Relation to Mission and Beliefs: to provide a consistently safe, secure and positive environment— both on and off campus—where our students can feel respected and valued as individuals, develop in confidence and maturity and be encouraged to realize their unique potential as individuals and members of a community.
- Information Dissemination: to inform all members of the school community abuse, neglect and other issues of child protection in order to be able to responsibly report these and act upon them comprehensively, thoughtfully and ensure that appropriate respect, confidentiality and dignity is ensured.
- Internal and External Communication: to provide an environment in which each individual voice is heard with respect, responded to with compassion and understanding and reacted to with appropriate professional effectivity.
- Reporting Procedures: to establish adequate procedures for reporting instances of abuse or neglect, suspected or witnessed.
- Responding Appropriately: to establish systematic, normative responses to all claims of abuse or neglect whereby an appropriate plan of action and support can be created and carried out by the school administration and staff.
- Connectivity: to establish communication and connectivity with appropriate support resources who can provide professional assistance and direction—particularly in law enforcement and social services.
- Situational Considerations: to consider and put into place policies to protect and secure our students in any and all situations and locations relevant to our programming.
- Staff Recruitment: to ensure that all staff members who work with our students have been appropriately screened as to their professional qualifications and moral suitability as well as their willingness to uphold the standards of our Child Protection Policy and Procedures Handbook.
- Training, Education and Communication: to communicate our Child Protection Policy and Procedures to all members of the school community through direct communication, instruction of students and training of staff members.
V. Procedures for Child Protection
All employees at AIS-Salzburg are required to report any suspicions of child protection violations to the school administration for consideration, discussion, investigation and possible further action. The Child Protection Team at AIS-Salzburg, composed of administrators, teaching faculty members and resident-care staff members are well-versed in all aspects of the child protection mandate at our school.
Practical procedures addressing possible violations of child well-being at AIS-Salzburg must be established clearly and effectively. To this end, AIS-Salzburg screens all staff members rigorously for suitability of working with young people, trains the entire staff regularly in appropriate policy content areas (e.g., child protection law, first aid, signs of abuse or neglect, proper procedures for reporting, etc.), and revises and updates the child protection policy annually.
Very important to our child protection policy and procedures is the appropriate communication with the community members directly involved as well as maintaining a professional and responsible level of respect, tolerance, inclusion, support and confidentiality at all times. The entire AIS-Salzburg community is responsible for establishing the safeguarding, protection and support which ensures the safety and wellbeing of our students.
Parents and guardians of students enrolled at AIS-Salzburg will be given access to the entire AIS-Salzburg Child Protection and Procedures Handbook which provides a full accounting of our safeguarding practices.