TASIS - The American School In England TASIS - The American School In England
TASIS England Values in Action Program
Jason Tait, Director of Pastoral Care, Designated Safeguarding Lead

TASIS England Values in Action Program

Our Values – Our Relationships – Our Community

Over the course of the coming few weeks, TASIS will run a series of blogs and learning opportunities in relation to our school values, our relationships, and our community. The TASIS England Values in Action (VIA) Program is a mission-driven response to the relationship challenges that our young people and children face today.

As our children grow into young people, their relationships inevitably increase and move beyond that of their immediate family. School, peer groups, friends, local neighborhood, sports teams, and clubs outside of school will all play a significant part in influencing our students. All of which will be influenced by social media, which will be a common denominator in all aspects of your child’s growth and development.

The most common challenge facing our community is how we support our young people and children as they manage these relationships throughout their varied life experiences and in the face of the vast array of influences they are exposed to, the majority of which are driven by social media.

The unfortunate reality is that, unless we meet this challenge in a meaningful way, our young people are at very real risk of harm on many levels.

Those who are harmed can feel isolated, hurt, and in some cases, face being ostracized by their peers.

Those who carry out such harm can face legal issues and potential challenges with securing future employment and/or places in higher education if they post offensive material online. Further implications to consider include being ostracized and, in extreme cases, being canceled by peers, which is especially relevant in the case of discrimination and sexual harassment.

The potential ramifications of not addressing and supporting our young people in overcoming such relationship harm are significant. Both the target and the harmer can be pulled towards radicalized thoughts as they seek attachments that are affirming and supportive in the fallout of a harmful relationship experience. A common theme to such processes is that vulnerable young people and children are exposed to online influences that seem appealing and credible, often because they appear to make sense of the young person’s feelings of grievance or injustice. Personal vulnerabilities can make a young person more susceptible to extremist messages and it is our responsibility to ensure that it is us and not extremists that fill the void.

At TASIS England, the safeguarding and pastoral teams across the school spend a good amount of time helping students to address issues of child-on-child relationship harm that include but are not limited to conflict, bullying, discrimination, and sexual harassment. The following cycle, which often takes place away from adult supervision, identifies the roles and responsibilities of students in these relationships. As a community, we have a responsibility to educate and empower our children and young people to break this cycle.

The TASIS England Values in Action program is a meaningful solution to help our student body navigate such challenges. This is a whole-school initiative that includes our youngest children as they learn these skills and values and can take them into adolescence and adulthood.

Over the course of the coming weeks, we will share more information and learning opportunities that will introduce the core processes of advocacy, bystander, and the important role that kindness and forgiveness can play through being restorative and how they link to our values of being compassionate, principled, and open-minded.

The relationships that young people make during their formative years influence what they expect from future relationships, so if they socialize in safe, supportive environments then they will form safe, supportive relationships (and the same applies to harmful, abusive relationships). By ensuring that young people are in nurturing environments, both within educational settings and outside them, our community can reduce the risk of future harm for our children and young people by equipping them with the tools to deal with future incidents and challenges.