Among the focus areas at the summer Merkos’ Chinuch Kinusim this year will be issue of guaranteeing child safety. No, this does not refer to keeping a child safe from physical harm, that’s a given. The focus will be on very personal and psychological safety issues.
Nearly a decade ago the Merkos Chinuch Office spearheaded the creation of a code of practice for schools and institutions that work with children. It concentrated of awareness and sensitivity to what may constitute abuse and prescribed what to do in the event that a teacher feels a child has suffered any kind of abuse. It was the collaborative work of educators, and lawyers and has since been basic policy in Chabad institutions. The Merkos approach was subsequently adapted by a number of educational super-agencies and child service organizations.
ALEINU, a division of Children and Family Services of Los Angeles, (www.safetykid.org) has taken the very idea of a code of practice to a completely different level. It developed a comprehensive approach to creating an atmosphere which does not tolerate any form of psychological or physical abuse, including bullying. It empowers administrators, teachers students and parents to work cooperatively and offers a program of systematic support.
The issue of personal and psychological safety for school children is one which all schools deal with, on various levels and with a wide range of success. No school can afford to ignore the issue and mechanchim/os understand the delicacy with which it must be handled. Having a united approach which includes the whole school community, will help all schools be more effective as guarantors of children’s safety.
Rabbi B. Goldenberg and other Aleinu staff members will present to the mechanchim and Mrs. Debbi Fox, director of Aleinu, for present to the mechanchos, an overview of the four components of the LA program and its procedures and offer a taste of the involved training programs. The presentation will be followed by a panel discussion and hands-on workshop which individual schools may then follow-up on.
Mechanchim from across the country will be coming to the Kinus HaMechanchim, to be held this year at the Dolce, in Norwalk, CT will take place Sunday and Monday, Rosh Chodesh Tammuz, July 3rd and 4th. For further information and to register, visit www.Chinuchoffice.org.