There are a number of nightmare scenarios every teacher dreads when traveling abroad with a group of students. Students can be prone to some pretty foolish behavior when they’re away from home. But one of your pupils committing a crime and being arrested certainly surpasses any worries about teenage high jinks. In a country where you’re unlikely to speak the language fluently, understand the legal process or know your student’s rights, it can be an incredibly daunting task to deal with.
If the worst should happen and a pupil commits a crime in a foreign country, here is what you should do:
Stay with Your Pupil
The fallout of committing a crime can be terribly frightening for your student. They may be searched by the police, placed under arrest or questioned at the police station. Whether your student broke the law knowingly or accidentally, they’ll need you to protect their interests and provide emotional support. Stay with your pupil, accompany them to the police station and encourage them to say as little as possible until they have appropriate legal advice.
Call the Parents
If things are looking serious and it seems like your pupil is going to be placed under arrest, you need to inform the parents as soon as possible. Keep a record of family contact details with you so you’re prepared should the worst happen. The student’s family is best placed to decide upon an appropriate course of action.
Call Your Embassy
Your embassy in the country you find yourself in should be your next port of call. They will be able to give you reliable advice on your pupil’s rights and what you should do next. Whilst they can’t intervene in a case of local law enforcement, they can provide you with lots of useful information, including a list of local lawyers.
Call a Lawyer
If your student is arrested for committing a crime in a foreign country, he or she will need a lawyer as soon as possible. This may be something the pupil’s parents can arrange, but if you’re left with the responsibility, try to find a lawyer who speaks English as well as the language of the country you’re visiting. If a bi-lingual lawyer isn’t available, you may also need to find someone who can act as a translator.
Do Your Research
Doing a little research before you embark on your trip can help you decide upon the best course of action if your student commits a crime. In some countries, police are keen to arrest for a small offense in the hope of receiving bribe money for waiving the charges. In other countries, things are played exactly by the book. You should also conduct some research into the law of the land you’ll be visiting. In Russia, for instance, all residents and travelers need to carry identification as a legal requirement. Kissing in public, insulting the national flag and even using someone else’s Wi-Fi connection are considered a criminal offence in some countries, so do your best to educate yourself and your students before you travel.
Travelling overseas with your students brings a wealth of benefits, but it doesn’t come without its risks. Do your research and prepare for the worst case scenario in order to protect and support your students whatever happens. And do your best to prevent any situations arising by educating your students on local cultures and your own expectations for their conduct on the trip before you leave home. That way the chances of your group having a run in with the law are made that much more unlikely.
Sienna Walker is an avid traveler, a blogger and a book lover who might often be found with yet another self-growth book in her hand. With her unquenchable love for writing, Sienna is currently supporting DirectorStats, and might often be found sharing her suggestions and thoughts online.