Safe schools a sanctuary for the youth
ROSES AND THORNS - Pia Roces Morato (The Philippine Star) - August 16, 2019 - 12:00am

Schools have long served as a safe space for our students. Whether a student is escaping abuse at home, discrimination due to sexuality or race, or overcoming trauma, one can say that part of a teacher’s vocation in schools is to be able to provide much more beyond academic learning.

Schools offer therapy, support, and a place of sanctuary for students which makes learning possible. I started out as a humble teacher and from the start, my students often came up to me for advice or simple story telling – all of which had nothing to do with the subject I was teaching.

There is a sense of sacredness when it comes to schools. Once a student enters its premises, teachers understand that caring for them is a wholistic duty wherein skills are honed, but having dignity and working on the right attitude toward life is of equal importance.

Schools being a safe haven for students act like a shield especially when peer pressure, bullying and other forms of abuse hinder the ability to learn. In other words, there are simply non-negotiable types of behavior that are strictly prohibited and laws within campuses implement rules against such precisely because of the fact that schools ought to be safe for every single learner the moment they enter the premises.

These very same rules are what parents put their trust in and all the more because they do, teachers and other school personnel more often than not step up to the plate and ensure that their children are in proper hands.

Stories from abroad have shown us the horrors of mass shooting and how incidents affect the local community as a whole. People need to understand that, when the sacredness of a safe place is massacred, the consequences go beyond that institution and spread across communities.

Looking into our own local issues within the country, schools have been today and in the past targeted, as learners are recruited under the guise of freedom and democracy. In this fast-paced world, technology has enabled us to seek and find information and at the same time provide the venue to expose the threats in our society.

Recent events have once and for all activated civic society who in their big and small ways take action to preserve not only the rights of learners but of families and communities.

The home should first and foremost be the safest place for every child, but when that is not so, schools become their refuge. It should therefore be very clear to us all that protecting and preserving safe schools must be done without compromise as schools are the cornerstone of every community.

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