Keeping Our Children Safe Around the World
The buzzwords in the international community of late concerns “child protection.” It keeps educators (and Board members) up at night, it’s constantly on the mind of parents and even some of the children can succumb to the pressures of not feeling safe — it will show in their schoolwork and grades. Even an allegation of abuse could result in huge legal fees to protect the institution.
Therefore, creating a sound and successful child safety and protection program is a must for schools in any country—especially in areas where crime, political unrest and kidnappings are on the rise. Companies like Clearpath EPM are at the forefront of establishing best practices to better enhance student protection programs at international schools, while partnering with leading international school associations to ensure this topic receives the attention it deserves from school administrators.
“Clearpath EPM’s founding members are former Regional Security Officers for the U.S. State Department, who over the course of 25 years provided safety, security and emergency preparedness advice and counsel to schools where Americans and other expatriates attend. Joined by former international educators and most recently by a leading child abuse expert, the company focuses on student and child safety programs in schools worldwide,” Bruce Mills, Clearpath EPM’s managing director, said.
Clearpath EPM services include on-site consulting as well as cutting edge, on-line emergency preparedness support through its innovative “EPM Dashboard”, an organized, cloud-based tool that guides schools to more efficiently create, implement, track and maintain valuable safety, security and emergency preparedness plans.
“We provide advice in the form of comprehensive on-site audits and assessments, reviewing the practices and procedures, policies and programs of particular schools,” Mills said. “We look at safety, security, emergency preparedness, crisis management, and other areas impacting child protection and provide schools with actionable recommendations to mitigate for a variety of risks we have identified.”
For example, having a fence and gate that isn’t monitored by a live person conducting access control makes a school as vulnerable as if a fence and gate were not present. Similarly, having background checks and screening procedures for all staff is great, but if the school is letting others in without some form of vetting, i.e. coaches, volunteers, contractors such as custodians, food service workers or bus drivers — and doesn’t perform some degree of checks on those individuals, a child’s safety can be put in danger.
“We assess over 175 different components during our audits and it can be as simple as looking at the school’s policy on how and where the youngest children go to the restroom, reviewing the procedures for how you hand off the children at the end of the day, to an accountability system and procedures to know who is on a school bus or not in real time,” Mills said. “Is there adequate vetting in place for staff and a well written code of conduct that all staff (and others with access to children) can acknowledge? Our reviews are much more than basic safety and security -- we look at the whole pie.”
An international school that takes advantage of Clearpath EPM’s services and also offers insurance protection will be looked at much more favorably by potential educators and prospective parents of children considering the school, making it more likely that it attracts the best teachers and students to the classroom.
Clements Worldwide leads the market in providing insurance solutions to international schools to protect staff, students, and assets. Its international insurance solutions run the gamut from Scholars Health Program, to Vehicle Fleet, Group Life Insurance to Foreign Property & Liability. This means if a school’s safety equipment goes down, it’s covered. If staff members get ill and need access to medical attention, coverage is available. If a bus or other school transportation vehicle is damaged in an accident, coverage is offered.
“Having a proper insurance policy in place is critical, but still no one wants a claim,” explained Scott Jacobs, Special Risks Manager. “There are ways to mitigate many risks faced by schools and a good risk management plan that addresses preventative measures and what to do when the unthinkable occurs is critical to risk mitigation.”
“That is why Clements collaborates with Clearpath EPM to ensure our clients are aware of these risk management options in the market and feel empowered to use them,” stated Jacobs. “When a school does not have such a plan in place and say a kidnapping occurs, administrators are surprised to find out they may be liable for mismanagement. Bad things can still happen, but at least the organization did everything in its power to prevent it.”
“There’s an obvious relationship between the services that Clearpath EPM and an insurance carrier like Clements provides,” Mills says. “There is no more important asset in this world than people. Our focus is to identify potential hazards, threats and vulnerabilities, and highlight the risk to your people and provide practical and useful recommendations you can employ to reduce these risks. At the end of the day, the insurance carrier will be happier that you have employed these resources.”
By utilizing a comprehensive and the most up-to-date emergency planning tools, a school can set itself apart from others in the region and keep criminals and potential threats at bay. Insuring the school for potential risks will ensure the long-term viability of the school should a significant event occur that could result in organizational liability. This will translate into a staff of teachers and administrators who can focus on the work of student education and a financially protected institution.
As Clements has worked with more than 200 international schools for over 30 years, learn more about how Clements can provide comprehensive insurance coverage tailored to your school’s specific regional requirements and organizational needs.
Call us today at +1.202.872.0060 or 800.872.0067 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how Clements can develop a customized international insurance program for your school.