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Wednesday, Jun 16, 2021
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Resolution brings two new mandatory protocols for detecting bullying in schools

Resolution brings two new mandatory protocols for detecting bullying in schools

The resolution creates two protocols of mandatory use to detect bullying and another to act against these cases in schools.
Resolution No 2588-A already appears in the Official Gazette of Panama Ministry of Education, through which the mandatory use of the Protocol for the detection, care, referral and follow-up of cases of children and adolescents in especially difficult circumstances within the educational system and the Protocol for action in situations of Harassment is regulated. School (Bullying) in all official and private educational centers nationwide.

This resolution states in article 2 that the "use of both protocols is protected by the obligation to report immediately as soon as there is knowledge of situations that may constitute crimes or offenses against a minor, which falls on any citizen and on the public servants, in the facts that they know in the exercise of their functions".

It is further explained that the protocols should only be used by the directive staff, teachers and counselors of the educational center and the administrative technician of the institution, namely: technical staff of the Psychopedagogical Cabinets and SAE Group. These officials, upon having knowledge of the situation, either through credible channels or through their own perception, must immediately proceed to record the information on the respective forms.

The regulation establishes that the situations in which the Protocol for the detection, attention, referral and follow-up of cases of children and adolescents in especially difficult circumstances within the educational system must be implemented are the following:

- Physical, psychological or sexual abuse
- School violence or bullying school (bullying)
- Carrying or use of weapons in or around the school
- Possession, use and sale of psychoactive substances
- Belonging to criminal groups
- Commercial sexual exploitation of children and adolescents
- Depression and suicidal behavior
- School dropout.

This protocol includes actions to detect, attend to, refer to and follow up on cases in which children and adolescents are involved in situations that, although not considered particularly difficult circumstances, endanger their lives: this is the case of the depression, suicidal behavior and self-injurious behaviors.

The resolution clarifies that the action protocol in situations of bullying only contemplates situations of bullying, as it is considered a form of abuse that occurs between students, on a recurring basis, over a considerable time and that causes some kind of pain to the victims.

It is specified that this protocol will only be used in schools of the First Level of Education (Preschool and Primary).

Regarding the application of both protocols, it is detailed that it is independent of any administrative action that the situation generates, in accordance with current regulations on the disciplinary regime.

The protocols detail the procedures to follow, according to each situation:

1. In the case of the Protocol for the detection, care, referral and follow-up of cases of children and adolescents in especially difficult circumstances within the educational system, there is one (1) form for each risk situation and one (1) flow chart for reference.
In the case of the Action Protocol in situations of School Harassment (Bullying), there is one (1) Case Record Sheet and one (1) Case Tracking Template.

2. It is clarified that the protocols are official documents with a confidential and reserved nature, since they contain private information about children and adolescents, so it must be guaranteed that these data are not accessible to unauthorized persons.

The educational center must guarantee that the student continues in the Panamanian educational system, so it must follow up on the cases, even if they have been referred to another institution.

"It is the responsibility of the director (a) of the educational center to immediately inform the parents or guardians about the situation detected with respect to their attended. Except for certain special conditions that show indications that indicate him as responsible for the fact and it is considered that the integrity or the life of the child or adolescent, "the document states.
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