Guitars & Ukes in the Classroom Child Safeguarding Policy, 2022
Guitars in the Classroom (GITC) acknowledges the duty of care to safeguard and promote the welfare of children youth in our programs. We act in alignment with best practices and rights defined in the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of the Child.
Our policy recognizes that the welfare and interests of children and youth are paramount in all circumstances in which we provide services. We are committed to training all of our faculty members in child protection procedures including upholding safe practices in our classes, and handling official reporting of suspected child endangerment, abuse, or neglect.
Sometimes our faculty members are the first adults that children or teens in crisis identify as "safe" to make a disclosure of abuse or other threats such as bullying, teasing, neglect, and much more. This generally happens because our faculty members are empathic teachers serving as facilitators in an artistic medium that expresses feelings. For this reason, students in crisis may open up to us. We are prepared to protect them during classes, and follow governmental and school policies and procedures to safeguard them outside of school if they indicate that they are in danger.
Our faculty members are trained in methods that specifically support student social and emotional awareness and well-being, and they have clear guidelines to immediately contact our executive director if they suspect something harmful may be taking place. We work together with the child and the child's family from that point forward, fulfilling all legal responsibilities, and helping as much as possible.
We also act to protect students' personal dignity, and aim to ensure that regardless of any participant’s age, race, socio-economic background, ethnicity, language, gender identity, sexual orientation, abilities or differing abilities, religious orientation, all children and youth ave a positive, inclusive, appropriate, and enjoyable experience when participating in GITC activities and classrooms in a safe and child-centered environment. We also support giving LGBTQ students sexual identity and gender confirming affirmation in GITC learning environments.
GITC acknowledges that young people who are perceived to represent a vulnerable or scapegoated population are at risk. They may be targeted by hate groups or hate speech, bullying, and mistreatment. If any conversation or action to this affect takes place in a GITC classroom, our faculty and leadership work together to create meaningful mediation so students can learn from the problem, settle their differences, and move forward as friends.
We are aware that many students may have experienced violence and sustained trauma related to their perceived identity in the past, or to war, or fleeing a threatening situation in their country of origin. We are committed to providing compassionate treatment and care for these students and taking all appropriate steps to ensure their welfare. This can include working with the school district and social service agencies to connect their families with health and mental health resources.
As part of our safeguarding policy, GITC will;
Promote and prioritize the safety and wellbeing of children and young people in our classrooms. This includes making sure there is a GITC faculty member and a credentialed teacher in residency classrooms at all times, and that our instructors will not be solely responsible for students in public schools.
Ensure everyone understands their roles and responsibilities in respect of safeguarding and is provided with appropriate learning opportunities to recognize, identify, and respond to signs of abuse, neglect, and other safeguarding concerns relating to children and young people.
Ensure appropriate action is taken in the event of incidents/concerns of bullying or abuse and that we will be responsive to the individual/s who raise or disclose concern. This includes anyone in our organization taking a report immediately contacting our executive director and informing her of suspected problems so GITC can assist in getting legal and appropriate assistance/care for that child.
Ensure that confidential, detailed, and accurate records of all safeguarding concerns are maintained and securely stored.
Prevent the employment/deployment of individuals who have a known history of discriminatory acts or using discriminatory language.
Ensure robust safeguarding arrangements and procedures are in operation at all levels of the organization.
This policy and accompanying procedures will be widely promoted and are mandatory for everyone involved in GITC. Failure to comply with the policy and procedures will be addressed without delay and may ultimately result in dismissal/exclusion from the organization.
The policy will be reviewed a year after development and then every three years, or in the following circumstances:
*At the first board meeting when new board members join our Board of Directors.
*In response to any changes in legislation and/or government guidance related to the safety of children.