At the British International School of Hanoi, we put the safety of children, staff and visitors at the forefront of all that we do. We believe that safety comes through careful planning and rigour in ensuring that all hazards are considered and provision is made for their control. Every trip, including those that involve a brief visit to the nearby VINCOM Centre, is planned for in meticulous detail. Every classroom activity outside of the norm is explored for danger and modified accordingly. To us, safety is wrapped up in all of our core values. Today, I would like to highlight perseverance.
It has come to our attention that some students continue to ignore our guidance on the use of seatbelts on school buses. Every day, checks are made on buses prior to school departure and it is concerning that some students from all corners of our multinational community appear to view wearing a seatbelt as optional. More alarmingly, with some students, we encounter indifference when we challenge their non-use of seatbelts. The school is clear in its expectations: if you choose not to wear a seatbelt, you cannot use the bus.
Vietnam has one of the highest road accident rates globally. The risk profile of being on the road in Hanoi is significantly greater than it would be Seoul, Tokyo or London. Therefore, the chances of your child being involved in a road traffic accident are enhanced as some may spend two hours a day in transit. Wearing a seatbelt means that, in an accident, a child is much less likely to suffer serious injury or death from being crushed into the seat ahead. Moreover, the use of a seatbelt means your child is unlikely to become a human missile through being thrown around the bus. Many road traffic fatalities are caused by the impact of collision with other passengers.
On a similar note, we have noticed a number of students within our community riding electric bikes or motorbikes without a helmet or with a helmet that would offer very little protection in an accident. The law is clear in Vietnam: All users of motorbikes or electric bikes must wear a suitable helmet. We will not allow students who don’t wear a helmet to bring a motorbike or electric bike onto the premises. We recommend that you explore the purchase of a helmet that offers protection for the front of the head/face as this is the area that more often takes the impact in an accident.
Safety is as much about individual and family responsibility as it is about what we do as a school collective. We can set the standard and we will continue to do this. However, if as parents, you don’t insist on the same standard, you present a mixed message to our children. Every time you don’t belt up or you ride a bike without a helmet, you contradict our message of safety. We need your support to change behaviours around road safety. If you drop your child off at the bus stop, remind them they need to wear a seatbelt. If they go out on a bike, challenge them to wear a helmet. Please set that high safety standard and walk this journey with us.
Our message on safety is not getting through to everyone in our community but we will persevere, hopefully with your help, because we care.