Ensure policies of Boys' Home support safety of staff, residents

The riot in the Singapore Boys' Home is a highly unusual event (14 arrested at Boys' Home for rioting; auxiliary cop, 2 staff hurt; Sept 29).

What may have been the contributory factors? Could it be unpleasant conditions, excessive discipline, racism or disinterest?

In establishments like this, a non-threatening environment that supportsthe rehabilitation of troubled young people is vital.

The staff should master the stick-and-carrot approach to make the home's residents learn and understand that there are consequences if they break the rules.

The staff must not generalise about or stereotype the residents. Believe that the young people can change. Treating the residents as individuals will lead to reciprocal respect, as well as their compliance and cooperation.

I hope that the riot will bring about improvements in the Boys' Home.

It is essential to strengthen the staff-resident relationship, and to communicate openly and honestly, with empathy and firmness.

The safety of the staff and residents at the facility is a top priority, and for that, the right practices and policies must be in place.

Loong Chik Tong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 04, 2018, with the headline 'Ensure policies of Boys' Home support safety of staff, residents'. Print Edition | Subscribe