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Accidents or disasters may happen anytime, anywhere. Children today are facing many risks such as traffic accidents, natural disasters, violence, abduction or other criminal actions. The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology has long worked toward the improvement of safety of schools, for example, by presenting to schools inspection items for safety control against intruders, etc. However, an unfortunate and painful incident happened on June 2001 at the Osaka Educational University Affiliated Elementary School of Ikeda. Many children and teachers lost their lives due to the violent act of an intruder with a lethal weapon.
Most important, a school should be a safe place to learn and study. Learning invaluable lesson from this incident, the Ministry Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology implemented "Children Safety Project" in FY 2002. Comprehensive measures for school safety and mental health care for children are provided, aiming at an establishment of safe and comfortable schools in close conjunction with the police as well as other relevant organizations, etc.
It is necessary to establish a security system for children and students in which school environments or the behavior of children that may cause accidents can be detected early and eliminated rapidly.
The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology took the incident at Ikeda elementary school seriously, and instructed every school to conduct immediate safety inspections. In order to prevent similar incidents, a clearance system at the entrance of school buildings or patrolling in school buildings are also recommended as measures against intruders.
Based on the conditions of each municipal government and school, the "Emergency Measures for Children's safety and Safety Control of Schools" was announced to each prefectural board of education in July 2001 in order to support emergency safety measures taken by municipalities. In addition, a necessary special tax allocation measure was implemented to fund emergency contact.
"Revision of Inspection Items (cases) concerning Children's Safety and Safety Control of Schools" was distributed to each prefectural board of education, etc. Based on the revision, each school is expected, in accordance with its conditions, to make an effort to fortify inspections and to create risk management manuals against accidents. The Ministry Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology implemented the "Children Safety Project" in FY 2002. Comprehensive measures for school safety and mental health care for children are implemented with the aim of establishing safe and comfortable schools. Some of the specific measures in this project are: (1) Creation and distribution of "cases and examples of actual safety measures taken by schools" and "manuals for risk management in schools": (2) promotion of practical procedures and the spread of those procedures in such a way that schools, homes, communities and relevant institutions protect children by putting all their efforts together as a whole community: (3) creation of human resource data used for the mental care services provided to children with PTSD (Post-traumatic Stress Disorder).
And, schools are expected to open their educational functions and facilities to the public to become core facilities to child development as well as for various community activities. Absolute security for the children is de rigueur in order to promote an active opening of school facilities, and therefore, efforts should be made for complete safety management.
It is also important to install anticrime equipment in the school facilities to make schools safer. In order to facilitate anticrime measures in schools, subsidy from the national budget is provided for engineering works such as changing the layout of classrooms and staff rooms or building fences around the schools.
With support from academic experts, research studies and surveys were conducted on the modality of anticrime measures of school facilities. The result was complied in the report "Anticrime Measures in Schools Facilities" on November 2002. The report describes the fundamental concepts of the anticrime measures in each school facility and specific points to be kept in mind when designing and planning anticrime measures. Based on the report, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology is striving to promote anticrime measures in schools in cooperation with relevant organizations and institutions.
It is also important for children and students to cultivate an attitude and ability to respect the lives of themselves and others, to understand basic matters necessary for safety in daily life, and to be able to lead a safe life. Safety education is carried out through overall school activities centered on physical education, health education, moral education and special activities.
The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology has long created and distributed guides for various informational materials on children's safety to teachers, and also held training sessions for leaders concerning school safety. For the implementation of new Courses of Study in FY 2001, a school safety reference material "School Safety Education for The Cultivation of Zest of Life" was created and distributed to each prefecture, city, town, and village. In addition, "Study Guide for Risk Prediction concerning Traffic Safety" was formulated and distributed to schools across the country in order to help children from the early stage of elementary schools to acquire skills and knowledge to predict risks involved in various traffic conditions and to be able to think and judge in a calm manner to avoid risks.
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