Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): Managements of private schools in the city say that they are following all the government guidelines and orders regarding safety of children on buses.
However, some of them are of the opinion that no amount of gadgets and precautions can put a complete stop to horrific incidents like the one that was recently reported from the Billabong High School in the city. “Such incidents are born out of a filthy and perverted mindset,” one of them said.
PRO, Campion School, Winston Vijay Minj, said that the school had installed CCTV cameras and GPS tracking devices on their buses much before it was made mandatory by the government. “All our buses are owned by the school and all the drivers and conductors are our permanent employees. We get their police verification done from time to time,” he said.
Minj said that the parents can also track the movement of the buses ferrying their children through an app provided by the school. “Every bus has a woman attendant as well as a female teacher,” he said. Minj said that they are also trying to get a panic button installed on their buses though it is not part of the guideline on school buses.
PRO, Carmel Convent, BHEL, Preyanka S, said that they are already taking all measures like GPS trackers, CCTV cameras, female attendants etc on every bus. She said they had a healthy interaction with the students and told them about the POCSO Act as well as good and bad touch only a day back. They also asked them if they are facing any kind of issues.
“In fact, we have been doing everything which is supposed to be done even before this incident took place,” she said, adding that “we are also getting our CCTVs upgraded”.
Randept Singh, PRO St. Joseph’s Convent, Idgah Hills , said that in their school, drivers and conductors are not allowed to board the buses till all the students are seated. “We also counsel the drivers and the conductors at regular intervals to develop an emotional bond between them and the students. We tell them that the students are just like their own children,” he said.
Shailesh Jhope, Principal, Anand Vihar School said that though they don’t have their own buses, they make sure that the transport company which provides them vehicles are equipped with the mandatory gadgets and that the crews are subjected to regular police verification. “Every bus has an ayah and a female teacher who remains in the bus till the last stop,” he said.
We are trying to ensure that all the relevant instructions and rules and regulations are followed by the school buses. We are also conducting a safety audit of school buses. Teams have been formed for this purpose.
-Nitin Saxena, DEO, Bhopal
Guidelines on School buses
· School Bus" must be written on the back and front of the Bus.
· If it is a hired bus, "On School Duty" should be clearly indicated
· Bus must have a First-Aid-Box.
· The windows of Bus must be fitted with horizontal grills.
· There must be a Fire Extinguisher in the Bus.
· School Name and Telephone No. must be written on the Bus.
· The doors of the Bus should be fitted with reliable locks.
· To keep School Bags safely, there should be a space-fitted under the seats.
· There must be an Attendant from the School in the Bus. School cabs should be fit with speed governors with maximum speed limit of 40 kph.
· The body of the school cab shall be highway yellow colour with a horizontal strip in green colour of 150mm width in the middle all around the vehicle and the words ‘SCHOOL CAB’ must be prominently displayed on all four sides of the vehicle.
· If the age of school children is below 12 years, the number of children carried shall not exceed 1½ times the permitted seating capacity. Children above 12 years shall be treated as one person.
· The driver of a school cab must have a valid licence to drive LMV-Transport Vehicles for a period of at least four years and compulsorily wear a light blue shirt, light blue trousers and black shoes. His name ID will be displayed on the shirt.
· There must be enough space provided to keep school bags inside the vehicle and the bags should not be hung outside the vehicle or placed on roof carriers
· The bus driver must carry a complete list of the children being ferried in the school cab, indicating the name, class, residential address, blood group and the points of stoppage, route plan, etc.
· In case of kindergarten, if an authorised person recognised mutually by the school and parents, does not come to pick the child from the halting points and such, the child shall be taken back to the school and their parents should be called.
· GPS and CCTV have been made compulsory in school buses. Installation of CCTV in school premises is made compulsory. The footage of the CCTV must be kept for 60 days and must be handed over to the police in case of any investigation purpose.