Pune: After the gruesome murder of an 8-year-old at a Delhi school in November last year, children’s safety at schools is a burning issue. And thankfully, the concerned stakeholders - schools, management, parents and the government have started taking serious steps to address it.
The State government recently issued a set of regulations for the schools to follow. The guidelines put the onus on the schools. According to the guidelines, when the child is on the school premises, his/her safety is the responsibility of the school.
The government has instructed that the schools should put up the information about POCSO-ebox, the facility created by the National Child Rights Protection Commission to register complaints regarding the atrocities on school students and the Chirag app created by the Maharashtra Child Rights Protection Commission. The schools also need to help the children file complaints in case of any such incident, and inform the Special Juvenile Police Unit or the local police station.
All the schools, primary, secondary and higher secondary, of all the mediums of instruction, need to install complaint boxes in the schools. All these safety guidelines are applicable to schools belonging to all the Boards in the state, including the CBSE, ICSE and International Board schools.
In a new rule, the government has ordered the schools to note the attendance of the students in the morning, afternoon and at the end of the school day and notify the parents in case any of the students are absent. The school management also needs to ensure that no student is left behind after school hours in the classroom or school premises.
As far as safety in the washrooms is concerned, the regulations make it clear that the girls’ and boys’ washrooms should be away from each other and there should be separate washrooms for teachers and other staff members. Also, the junior and senior sections in the washrooms should now preferably be different.
The government has reiterated the existing rules like not letting the children go home with anyone else apart from their parents, character and psychological tests of the appointed staff members, presence of a woman attendant or teacher in the school bus until the last child is dropped off and no entry to strangers in the school bus.