Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Arming School Children Against Violence...Preparing To Handle Terrorist Threats In Pakistani Schools.

Pakistani Society faces a unique conflict situation currently in which thousands of school children have been directly affected by violence and terrorist attacks. In October some three years ago the massive earthquake also affected thousands of children and it's trauma was not over that this recent menace has started and eating up the health of our children and their parents.
So far, there is no comprehensive policy both at the governmental level or at the school level to address this problem. Both the school administration and the parents will need to device strategies and initiate learning programs to help the children deal with such threats as school bombings and the instillation of fear .The parents need to be aware of the situation confronting their child and be armed and ready with mechanisms of how to deal with these conflict situations.
Lots of web presence is there on how to deal with school violence to which I am giving links but simple instructions on how to deal with such a situation are not there. Here I am writing a few points for both the teachers and the parents to follow in order to be better prepared.
For School Administration and Teachers:
  • Make a security plan for the school with a clear objective for evacuation,response in case of attack, fire,threat, devising coordination with local rescue, fire agencies,local councillors, representatives, ambulances, police station , hospital and clinic.
  • Prepare a list of parents' contact and keep it handy. Train at least two or three people to start contact. Prioritise tasks to handle response as a list on,two,three...Train people to do the drill regularly.
  • Discuss and train parents the response plan with parents at least monthly in a meeting and use email contacts with information regularly to allay their anxiety.
  • Regularly do fire drill as an evacuation plan with children.
  • Provide reassurance and support to parents and children by appointing a counsellor and or trained person to provide support.

For Parents:

  • It is essential that you find out the kind of information your child is getting about violence.Talk to him/her and explain the situation honestly.
  • Give assurance and emotional support to address their needs. Do not avoid topics of death and destruction. Give reasonable explanation.
  • Allay fears and anxiety by simple examples and avoid showing your own anxiety.
  • Prepare them for drills in school.
  • Make their daily tasks simple and let them follow a simple routine. Provide a relaxing atmosphere. Engage them in sport, music, painting etc. Limit exposure to tv and violent movies etc.
  • Seek professional help if you think you cannot handle and the child is having nightmares, bedwetting, bad grades , bad behviour, shyness, intriversion, avoidance in school and such trauma symptoms.
  • Teach them helping skills like simple first aid , what to do if someone fell down and other life saving skills.
  • Let them keep a pet if they can ,this teaches them nurturing.

You can find good informaation on these sites; http://www.talkingwithkids.org/




Spread the word of help around for all to benefit.Defeat the fear factor spread by terrorist. Help humanity live healthily.