School safety: A psychological perspective
By: Arshid Qalmi
School safety is a critical issue that has gained increased attention in recent years. From a psychological perspective, there are several key factors that contribute to a safe and secure school environment.
A positive school climate fosters a sense of belonging, safety, and connectedness among students, staff, and families. A positive school climate is associated with lower rates of bullying, aggression, and other forms of violence. Students who experience mental health difficulties such as anxiety, depression, and trauma are more vulnerable to school-related violence. Providing students with access to mental health services and support can help prevent violence and promote a positive school environment. Students need to know what is expected of them and the consequences of their behavior.
A well-implemented discipline policy can help prevent incidents of violence and maintain a safe and orderly school environment. Social-emotional learning teaches students essential skills such as self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship skills. These skills help students develop positive relationships with others, manage their emotions, and make responsible decisions. Students, staff, and families need to be informed about safety procedures and practices. Regular safety drills and training can help prepare students and staff for emergencies and minimize the risk of harm.
The National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 is a comprehensive policy document that outlines the vision for the future of education in India. The NEP 2020 recognizes the importance of school safety as an essential component of quality education. One of the key objectives of the NEP 2020 is to ensure a safe and secure learning environment for all students. The policy emphasizes the need for measures to prevent bullying, harassment, and other forms of violence in schools. It also recognizes the importance of creating a positive school culture that promotes respect, inclusion, and diversity.
The NEP 2020 also emphasizes the need for measures to ensure the physical safety of students. It calls for the development of disaster management plans and the implementation of safety protocols to protect students in the event of emergencies such as natural disasters or terrorist attacks. The policy also calls for the provision of adequate infrastructure and facilities, such as clean drinking water, safe toilets, and well-maintained classrooms, to ensure the physical safety of students. In addition to physical safety, the NEP 2020 recognizes the importance of promoting the mental health and well-being of students. It calls for the provision of counseling services and other forms of support to help students cope with stress, anxiety, and other mental health issues.
Psychological safety is crucial in schools because it helps create a supportive and inclusive learning environment where students feel comfortable expressing their thoughts, ideas, and feelings without fear of ridicule or judgment. When students feel psychologically safe, they are more likely to engage in meaningful learning experiences, take risks, and develop positive relationships with their peers and teachers. Here are some of the reasons why psychological safety is necessary in schools:
Promotes positive mental health: Psychological safety is a key factor in promoting positive mental health in students. When students feel safe and supported, they are more likely to develop positive self-esteem, cope with stress and anxiety, and build resilience.
Encourages academic success: When students feel psychologically safe, they are more likely to participate in classroom discussions, ask questions, and take risks. This can lead to increased academic success as students are more engaged and invested in their learning.
Fosters inclusivity: Psychological safety is necessary to create an inclusive learning environment where all students feel valued and respected, regardless of their backgrounds or identities.
Reduces bullying and harassment: Psychological safety can help reduce incidents of bullying and harassment by promoting a culture of respect and tolerance.
Improves teacher-student relationships: When students feel psychologically safe, they are more likely to develop positive relationships with their teachers, which can lead to increased trust, communication, and collaboration.
The head of the school has a critical role in promoting school safety from a psychological perspective. By developing and implementing policies, fostering a positive school climate, providing training and support, ensuring access to mental health services, and creating partnerships with parents and community members, the head of the school can help create a safe and secure learning environment for all students. Also, the teachers can promote school safety by building positive relationships with students, modeling positive behavior, identifying and addressing mental health concerns, promoting social-emotional learning, and reporting safety concerns, teachers can contribute to a safe and secure learning environment that promotes student well-being and success.
Kashmir Images is an English language daily newspaper published from Srinagar (J&K), India. The newspaper is one of the largest circulated English dailies of Kashmir and its hard copies reach every nook and corner of Kashmir Valley besides Jammu and Ladakh region.