ISP School Policies
- Family Handbook SY2021-2022
- Child Protection Policy
- Inclusion and Diversity Policy
- ISP Technology Responsible Use Commitment
- Other Policies
Child Protection Policy
International School of Panama
Schools strive to ensure that all children in their care are afforded a safe and secure environment in which to grow and develop. Child abuse and neglect are violations of a child’s human rights and are obstacles to the child’s education as well as their physical, emotional, and social development. Child abuse and neglect are of growing concern in schools throughout the world.
The International School of Panama, in keeping with our core beliefs and mission statement, has adopted a Child Protection Policy that will empower students, families and staff in matters related to the health, safety and care of children in attendance at our school.
This Child Protection Policy is the school’s commitment to do our utmost to prevent and protect children from abuse. It is a statement of intent that demonstrates the school's commitment to safeguard children from harm and makes clear to all its members what is required in case of a known or suspected case of abuse. All ISP faculty, staff, and employees, as well as all students, parents and other relevant community members and service providers associated with the school (the “ISP Community”), have a legal obligation to report suspected incidences of child abuse or neglect whenever they have reasonable cause to believe that a child has suffered or is at risk of suffering any type of abuse regardless of the location where the abuse takes place.
Definition of Policy Terms:
- Child: For the purposes of this policy, the term child refers to any ISP student under the age of 18, or any person under the age of 18 years who is present on the ISP campus.
- Child Abuse - According to the World Health Organization, child abuse constitutes “all forms of physical and/or emotional ill-treatment, sexual abuse, neglect or negligent treatment or commercial or other exploitation, resulting 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.”
- Physical Abuse: Intentional (non-accidental) physical injury of a child, by a parent, a person responsible for the care of the child, or any member of the ISP community.
- Neglect: Failure to provide for a child’s basic needs or to properly protect children from harm, as is feasible.
- Sexual Abuse: Committing, or allowing to be committed, any sexual offense against a child as defined in either the Panama’s criminal code, Article 500 or this policy, or intentionally touching, either directly or through clothing, the genitals, anus, or breasts of a child for other than hygiene or child care purposes.
- Emotional Abuse: A pattern of actions, such as: inattention to a child's emotional needs, failure to provide psychological care, or permitting the child to abuse alcohol or other drugs, specific examples may include verbal humiliation, refusing to acknowledge presence of child, invasion of privacy for no specific reason, or violent threats.
The International School of Panama Child Protection policy is based on Panamanian law (Family Code article 500), the International Task Force on Child Protection (ITFCP) and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, of which Panama is a signatory.
Reporting Procedures for Abuse:
It is the responsibility of all members of the ISP Community to inform any knowledge of, or reasonable suspicion of the possibility of, child abuse. All ISP members of staff are legal mandatory reporters and have a professional and ethical responsibility to inform if they experience, observe or recieve a report of suspicious signs and/or behaviors that suggest abuse or a violation of the spirit of the School’s Code of Conduct.
ISP requires that all members of the community familiarize themselves with these reporting requirements in the event that they witness or become aware of student abuse/endangerment.
- Report of suspected abuse or a violation of the spirit of the School’s Code of Conduct and Panama’s law (article 502 Family Code) should be made directly to one of the designated CPOs (Child Protection Officers) or administrator within 24 hours of the suspicious activity or behavior.
- Disclosure of abuse from a child to any member of the ISP community will be directly related only to the CPO or administrator immediately after having knowledge of it, in strict confidentiality.
- The CPO and the reporting faculty or community member must complete the Child Protection Incident Report.
- CPO(s) will then inform the division administrator, School Director, and/or HR Director as appropriate.
After the reporting process one of theses three scenarios may result:
- “No Grounds” case – If the CPO, the Divisional Principal, the Director, and other involved personnel determine there are no grounds for the abuse allegations or a violation of the spirit of the code of conduct, then the result of the case will be officially documented. The gathered information and a record of discussions held will be kept on file and electronically available for CPOs to access/refer to as needed.
- “Incomplete” case – If evidence is lacking or incomplete and it is determined that the case merits further internal investigation, then the CPO, the Divisional Principal, the Director and other involved personnel will maintain confidential timed and dated notes and meet regularly to evaluate any further developments in the case in question. Disclosure of ongoing cases will be reported to the designated Board member and the involved parents as appropriate. The gathered information will be kept on file and periodic updates, in writing, will be provided to the Board as the circumstances of the case merit.
- “Abuse Likely or Confirmed” case – If documented evidence suggests abuse (including that which is alleged to have occurred off campus) the Director or his/her designee, following discussion with the Board of Directors, will immediately report cases of abuse or possible commission of a crime to local authorities. This obligation is contained in article 83, paragraph 4 of the Code of Criminal Procedure and Article 502 of the Family Code. Confirmed cases related to the violation of the spirit of the Code of Conduct by a staff member that do not suggest a case of direct child abuse will be referred to the Human Resources department.
In any of the above scenarios, The Director, in consultation with the Board and legal/professional advisers, will take necessary actions to ensure the safety of the student and the community.
In order to provide a safe and open environment for our students to learn and to protect the integrity of our staff, every interaction between staff members and students, or between students, should be visible through windows or in open spaces. No one-on-one situations should occur between adults and children, or between children in closed spaces. This includes all interactions during school, and after school hours on ISP campus, or at any ISP related event.
The International School of Panama seeks to be a safe environment for students who may be experiencing abuse or neglect in any aspect of their lives, therefore we will review and distribute this policy annually to all parents and applicants, will communicate this policy annually to students, will provide annual training for all staff, and will make every effort to implement hiring practices to ensure the safety of children.
ISP Inclusion and Diversity Policy
The International School of Panama is committed to be a leader in the transformation of education in the 21st century. We therefore acknowledge the need to set forth a non-discrimination policy that affirms and protects the dignity and worth of each member of our community.
Ours is a culturally diverse school. In order to truly reflect our values and aspirations, we adopt this Inclusion and Diversity Policy that establishes goals and objectives that promote inclusion, diversity, equity and social justice in the life of the school.
ISP believes that all students are entitled to an excellent education that challenges their capabilities, offered in a school environment that promotes respect, empathy, and kindness, irrespective of race, ethnicity, religion, economic status, gender, sexual orientation, and abilities.
We believe that exposure to diversity challenges students and staff to think critically and become leaders able to challenge assumptions, and explore alternative approaches and solutions to real world problems. Equally relevant is that this expression of diversity respects and aligns with ISP’s educational process, mission, core values and beliefs, as determined by the school Administration.
GOALS & OBJECTIVES
This policy ensures that the Board of Directors, School Director, Administration, Faculty, Staff and Students work diligently to cultivate an ethos of inclusivity that welcomes and celebrates the diversity present in our School.
ISP commits to the development of the whole person within a supportive, secure and creative environment, by ensuring that school community members feel safe to celebrate their individuality, and not be discriminated or harassed based on gender, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or disabilities.
To adopt this policy, we pledge the following:
- Our code of practice, discipline policy and mission statement acknowledge our cultural and social diversity;
- Learning experiences recognize, value and build on students’ backgrounds and experiences, helping them learn from each other;
- A clear zero tolerance policy towards abusive or discriminatory behavior;
- Different groups of students, especially those who may find aspects of academic learning difficult, have access to education through differentiated teaching;
- Reasonable and appropriate adjustments are made for students with disabilities and special education needs;
- We keep up-to-date with equalities legislation relevant to our policy from the government of Panama and international best practices;
- We deal fairly and professionally with prejudicial or bullying incidents that may occur; o All visitors and contractors are aware of, and comply with this policy.
- A school ethos that celebrates diversity and inclusivity, and challenges prejudicial language, attitudes and behavior;
- Policies and objectives that reflect the diversity of our community in all our publicity and promotional materials, and use inclusive language in all written, electronic, and oral communication;
- Students to be change-makers: empathic leaders, capable of working in teams to solve shared problems.
- Values of acceptance and good relations among culturally and socially diverse groups, and within administration, faculty, staff and student body;
- Meaningful strategies for cross-cultural competency;
- A broad, balanced and appropriate curriculum that provides equal opportunity for all students, irrespective of difference, to maximize their potential and thrive;
- A study for the implementation of access for disabled students to all ISP facilities and services; o A partnership with families and the wider community to establish, promote and disseminate inclusive practice and tackle discrimination.
- Education to students, staff and faculty, and our community, about the negative impact of stereotyping, prejudice and discrimination; help children understand that discriminatory behavior and bullying remarks are hurtful and unacceptable;
- Training and support for all school personnel, including its Board of Directors and parents on inclusion and diversity issues.
ISP adopts this Inclusion & Diversity Policy in full compliance with all applicable local laws. Our aim is to make the law the floor, not the ceiling, and to establish a diverse, inclusive, safe, and welcoming community for all students, staff, and families.
Our ISP policy is in line with international human rights standards as expressed in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the UN Convention on the rights of People with Disabilities, and the Human Rights Act of 1998. We are also aligned with compelling national standards such as the U.K. Equality Act of 2010.
ISP is an equal opportunity employer. We employ on the basis of role requirements, and select people based on their qualifications, skills and experience. We do not discriminate unfairly on grounds of age, gender, race, national or ethnic origin, language, religion, political beliefs, sexual orientation or physical ability.
To abide by the Ministry of Labor LAW 15 of May 31, 2016, (previously Law 42), for every fifty employees, 2% will have a physical disability.
Our recruitment and reward practices are designed to attract and retain diverse talents. We are committed to developing productive, mutually beneficial relationships.
To keep the School accountable to its mission, the Board of Directors periodically revises that the school complies with these policies.
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STRATEGIC PROCEDURES TO BE IMPLEMENTED
In order to comply with the Inclusivity and Diversity Policy (meet statutory duties), a set of procedures is clearly delineated. These provide an action plan for the administration, staff, faculty and students, to achieve our goals.
The School Director is responsible for implementing the policy and ensuring that all staff and faculty are aware of their responsibilities and are given appropriate training and support, and for taking action in cases that conflict with the principles and intent of this policy and those that constitute unlawful discrimination.
To ensure the implementation of this policy
The ISP HEAD OF SCHOOL will
- Ensure that diversity initiatives are coordinated and led by a designated individual (or individuals) with the training, authority, and support needed to influence key areas of policy development and decision-making;
- Involve all members of the ISP community in the development, review, evaluation, and impact assessment of improvement plans, policies and procedures;
- Monitor and assess school culture and efforts in admissions, hiring, scholarship recipients, student clubs and activities and curriculum assessment to reflect the principles and intent of this policy; o Annually review this policy to make adjustments as deemed appropriate.
The ISP HUMAN RESOURCES DEPARTMENT will
- Set clear rules in regards to how people should be treated;
- Ensure all staff models culturally inclusive behavior, and report to the principal any behavior that appears racist, discriminatory, prejudiced or culturally biased;
- Regard all bullying incidents equally serious and have procedures in place to deal effectively with any reported incidents of discrimination, victimization or harassment;
- Ensure the availability in paper copy (on display for visitors) and electronically of this policy and widely disseminate it to all faculty, staff, students and parents;
- Include in the Staff Handbook procedures on how prejudice related incidents should be identified, assessed, recorded and dealt with;
- Ensure all employees sign a pledge to uphold the values and principles enunciated in this policy.
The ISP ACADEMIC LEADERSHIP TEAM will
- Ensure professional development of teachers is implemented to acquire the necessary skills to deal with diversity and inclusion issues;
- Create time for discussion about inclusion & diversity with both students and parents; o Incorporate activities such as films, music, food and games, about inclusivity and diversity as part of the curriculum to create opportunities for open discussions;
- Ensure teachers provide opportunities for students to celebrate diversity and cultivate an appreciation for the broad ethnic, cultural, racial, and religious diversity of the school; o Ensure that learning materials do not discriminate against anyone and are adapted to avoid stereotypes;
- Offer students from non-English speaking backgrounds access to ESL programs; o Offer specialized teaching services for students with impairments during elective periods so that no student misses out on academics or is made to feel different by school policy; o Ensure all students sign a pledge to uphold the values and principles enunciated in this policy.
The ISP MARKETING AND COMMUNICATION MANAGER will
- Develop and execute a Communications and Marketing Action Plan to ensure the policy is widely disseminated to the entire ISP community; periodically, revise and implement strategies that help renovate our understanding and celebration of this policy.