“Peace cannot be achieved through violence, it can only be attained through understanding.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Last Tuesday, a man wielding knives in both hands attacked a group of students and parents waiting at a bus stop. The tragic attack, which occurred over a period of less than 20 seconds, claimed the lives of two: a “thoughtful and good-natured” 11-year-old school girl named Hanako Kuribayashi and a Foreign Ministry official specialized in the Burmese language, Satoshi Oyama. The incident naturally sent shockwaves throughout the education community, the country and the entire world. Our thoughts are with all the victims of this senseless, devastating tragedy.
In the aftermath of traumatic events, it’s natural to want to hear guidance from community leaders. As shock and horror turn to sorrow and mourning, these leaders are in a good position to provide guidance, reassurance and firm action. Incidentally, our team has been discussing ways to improve student security and safeguarding at school in order to meet the high standards of the Council of International Schools (CIS) and the International Task Force on Child Protection (ITFCP) this year. This ongoing conversation covers topics ranging from student health and well-being, emergency procedures, the securitization of school facilities, teacher training, safe recruitment protocols, preventing and identifying child abuse, networking with specialists, and more. We have just taken our first major step toward CIS accreditation, and although this process will likely take several years, we have already made some important moves to adapt to their safeguarding standards.
We’ve really felt the burn this year because of this transformative process, but ultimately we are on the path to becoming a safer, stronger school overall. Thank you to our families for the continued support – please look forward to future updates on our collective path to whole-school improvement. For now, we’re focused on the upcoming exam period and Project Week, with everything culminating with our end-of-year assembly and graduation ceremony. It’s going to be a frantic few weeks, so anything you can do to facilitate this cram period for your child will be greatly appreciated!