Mumbai: Students of all schools will have more provisions for safety and security from this academic year as per directives from the state. School authorities claim they do not have funds to implement these initiatives and expect the state to provide funds for implementing these measures to ensure safety of children in their premises.
Schools say they have already introduced some security measures and tightened rules. The schools have began installing CCTV cameras in the entire school campus, issuing identity cards (ID) for all staff, conducting security checks of whoever enters the school and restricting entry of unidentified persons.
However, some schools cannot afford to implement even these basic measures, like installing CCTV cameras on the entire campus. Fr Francis Swamy, Joint Secretary of the Archdiocesan Board of Education (ABE), which manages over 150 schools in the city, said, “We need funds for implementing even something small like installing a camera or recruiting a security guard, as these require finance. The state should provide a separate funding scheme for schools which cannot afford to implement these directives.” He further said, “Schools should also gather funds through various committees or Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) for this purpose.”
Among other rules, the state has directed schools to ensure separate washrooms for boys and girls are maintained at a suitable distance,in addition to the deployment of a female attendant in the girls’ washroom. Also, the female attendant in every school bus should not leave the bus unless the last girl is dropped to her destination. The principal of a school said, “The government cannot expect us to simply follow a Government Resolution which they issue suddenly. We have to plan a budget in advance, it is not that simple.”
The parents too want a say in the safety of their children. Some parents claimed they want to be involved in the process of formulating these initiatives. Meera Shetty, a parent said, “Schools can hold discussions with us so that we can put forth our views to ensure safety of our children. As parents, we have a better understanding of our kids and we can help schools to initiate healthy provisions.”
Schools claimed they have become vigilant following the incident at Gurgaon’s Ryan International School where a 7-year-old student was murdered. Fr Swamy added, “We have issued ID cards for all employees. In fact, both parents of all students have been given ID cards so that they can use while visiting the school.” All schools of the state irrespective of the board of learning will have to implement these new directives.