By: Arvie C. Roldan, Teacher 3
SDO Laguna, Pagsanjan Sub-office
Francisco Benitez Memorial School
Safety – is a concept that we all want to have in our lives. Safety in terms of being free from any danger, hurt, injury, or loss. This word can have varied meanings, but we can all agree that this is something that we need to have in every place and aspect of our lives including our schools.
Our learners’ safety is one of our top priorities. Now that the gates of our schools have opened and welcomed once again our students, it is a must that we must ensure their safety as it is essential to their development and academic success. If a learner feels that he/she is safe at school, it is proven in numerous studies that they tend to have better emotional and mental health and are less likely to engage in unacceptable behaviors. Having a sense of safety – both for our learners and teachers alike – contributes to a conducive learning environment.
Talking about safety in a blanket – from emotional, physical, and disaster safety – we as part of the education system must be able to minimize any existing hazard, thus preventing it from further happening.
For emotional and physical safety, we must strengthen our Child Protection Committee. Republic Act No. 10627 or the Anti-Bullying act requires all elementary and secondary schools to adopt policies to prevent bullying. Bullying can happen anywhere – may it be in school or outside school premises. This act of aggressive behavior will never be tolerated. Having an imbalance of power or strength should be cut momentarily for it not to be done in a repeated behavior which can either be physical, verbal, or relational. What we must do is create an environment where everyone feels safe, heard, and understood.
Another form of safety is from disasters which all of us might encounter at any time in our lives. Our government along with our institution implements integrated structural and non-structural risk reduction measures through different programs, projects, and activities. Through these, hazard exposure and vulnerability to disasters, increase preparedness for response and recovery capacity, and thus strengthen resilience.
In the Philippine law, RA 10121 recognized the need to institutionalize DRRM both at the national and local levels. This republic act helped to develop the National Disaster Reduction and Management Framework (NDRRMF) that provides for a comprehensive, all-hazards, multi-sectoral, inter-agency, and community-based approach to DRRM.
Being able to provide and realize one of the Department of Education’s missions where students learn in a child-friendly, gender-sensitive, safe, and motivating environment is indeed a big factor that would determine a child’s success in the future. Keeping our schools safe allows our learners to look forward to attending school as it is a place where they feel encouraged to explore their social and creative facets. We have to realize as educators that our schools should be a place where our learners can be anything that they want – a haven not only from disasters created by our nature but also from any emotional and physical threat that they may encounter. If these basic safety needs are not met, our children might lose the motivation to go to school, resulting in multiple problems like absenteeism, anxiety, and worse, depression. We must promote a safe and open space where our kids will learn. Promoting school safety creates an open space for kids to explore, learn and grow.
The issue of school safety is a major concern for everyone. Cooperation and consistency is the key. Let us learn from the lessons already on hand, and work to improve towards a bright future where everyone – learner, teacher, community people – are safe from everything. We must take steps toward realizing a safe and ideal environment for everyone including our learners.