The Gurugram district administration will now focus on implementation of guidelines issued by department of education Haryana for safety of students. This was made clear by the Deputy Commissioner, Vinay Pratap Singh, who was presiding over the meeting of School Safety Committee constituted by the district administration, in which he clearly stated that ‘safety of children is priority of the administration’.
The committee consisted of representatives from management of various schools, clinical Psychologist, Consultant from Security Sector Skill Development Council (SSSDC), representatives of parents besides officers from Education, Police and Regional Transport Authority (RTA).
Safety issues of school children during journey from their home to school and during their stay in school premises, in addition to the ‘Surakshit School Vahan policy’ were discussed at length. Deputy Commissioner said that the guidelines as regards to safety of students are mandatory, which need to be followed in letter and spirit. No laxity on this issue will be tolerated. He advised that the schools should get security audit done at their own level, so that when the district authorities go for checking they do not face embarrassment.
He said that a communiqué was sent to all schools of the district from his office under section 144 Cr PC, in which they were asked to ascertain safety of students and give undertaking in this regard. The District Education Officer, Ram Kumar Phalaswal informed that 160 schools have submitted their undertakings. Singh said that now checking will be conducted by a team, having DEO or his representative, RTA staff member and a representative from local police station as compulsory members.
He said that an inspection calendar for schools will be issued and will be intimated to all schools. Representative of any school can accompany the inspection team, if he or she desires so. In the first phase, ten schools will be inspected and the schools to be included in the first go, will be decided through draw of lots. The schools who haven’t yet submitted the requisite undertaking will also be checked by a committee of local SHO and Block Education Officer (BEO) or Block Elementary Education Officer (BEEO), on the basis of whose report police action will be initiated for violation of section 144 CrPC.
Singh said that action will be taken against the schools not adhering to the guidelines like their aid may be stopped, if they are government aided or affiliation may be withdrawn if affiliated to Haryana Board of School Education (HBSE) or taking over of managing committee may be done as in Ryan case and action for violation of District Magistrate’s order under section 188 IPC.
Underlining the main points of the safety issues, Singh said that the school bus should have a speed governor devise and its speed should not exceed 30 kilometers per hour. A female attendant and a qualified conductor with valid license should be there in the bus. In case of students being brought by private vans, he said that in such cases onus of responsibility lies on the parents who have hired the vehicle but schools should issue advisory to the parents that they hire a vehicle after doing due diligence.
He said that non commercial vehicles cannot be used for carrying students and the implementing authorities will be taking strict action against them. He asked the managements of private schools to ensure installing CCTV cameras at strategic locations in the school premises. The schools have been asked to be in touch with the nearest hospital to their school and also keep the staff and drivers informed about that so that in the hour of need, the ailing student or teacher can be rushed there.
Singh said that the students need to be made aware against the abuses like good touch, bad touch; bullying, internet hazards etc and special sessions on personal safety lessons may be held on regular basis in schools. Underage driving by students should also be discouraged by schools. Responsibilities of parents needed to be communicated to them, he added.
The meeting was attended by ADC Pradeep Dahiya, ACP Law & Order Jai Singh, DEO Ramkumar Phalaswal, District Urban Nodal Officer, Dr MP Singh, Clinical Psychologist, Dr Shweta, CEO SSSDC, Maj Gen AK Sukhija, Consultant, SSSDC Lt Col Harjinder Singh, Director BUD Foundation Divya were also present.
–Sandeep Siddhartha, Senior Reporter