Schools get Maharashtra government safety tasks

Mark attendance before and after school, SMS parents about their child’s absence, drop the girl child at her door step, if she takes the school bus and make sure she is accompanied by a woman attendant or teacher if she is the last one to get down. These are some of the security measures that the state government has stipulated in its student safety guidelines for schools.

Issued on Saturday in a government resolution (GR), the guidelines for schools follow a Supreme Court directive. The directive was given after lawyers Abha R Sharma and Sangeeta Bharti sought the framing of “non-negotiable” child safety conditions and implementation of existing guidelines to protect schoolchildren from offences like sex abuse and murder.

The guidelines are a set of 23 security measures. A child’s safety is the school’s responsibility when he/she is inside its premises. The GR also insists that the parents sending their children by private vans should observe the van driver’s behaviour and posses his personal information.

Strangers should not be allowed inside schools or school buses. Staff should ensure that no child is left behind in classrooms or toilets or anywhere else on the premises after school hours. Girls attending competitive events outside a school should be accompanied by a female teacher. If possible junior and senior sections of the schools should be independent.

Teachers and staff should have separate toilets, and there should be enough distance between girls and boys toilets. Another rule in the GR directs schools to get character certificates of teachers and staff from police before appointing them. Even school bus and canteen staff should be government-approved.

Suvarna Kharat, deputy secretary of the School Education Department, said, “The guidelines are more about ensuring students’ safety in schools. Attendance should be taken before and after school so that parents should know about their child’s whereabouts if he/she is sent to school.”

Uday Nare, a teacher at Hansraj Morarji Public School, said, “The measures are good. But who will bear the expense for steps such as installing more CCTV cameras or employing woman attendants in school buses? Principals have bigger responsibilities now.”

Tougher Rules

Besides keeping strangers out of schools and school buses, the GR also makes police character certificates of teachers and staff must before appointments

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