Surprise Bag Checks Mandated for Schools in Capital: Should Mumbai Be Next?

Surprise Bag Checks Mandated for Schools in Capital: Should Mumbai Be Next?

Should Mumbai schools follow Delhi's surprise bag checks to ensure student safety? Mumbai parents and school authorities weigh in on the potential invasion of privacy and effectiveness of such measures. Read more.

Megha ChowdhuryUpdated: Wednesday, February 21, 2024, 07:19 PM IST
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Mumbai: The Delhi government's Directorate of Education has issued a circular mandating surprise bag checks in schools across the national capital. The directive aims to prevent the presence of potentially harmful items among students during school hours.

Citing recent incidents of quarrels and altercations both within and outside school premises, the Delhi administration views these measures as necessary to ensure student safety.

The question now arises: Should Mumbai adopt similar precautions?

In light of this decision, The Free Press Journal reached out to parents and school authorities in Mumbai for their views on the matter.

While expressing hesitation about surprise bag checks,  Mrs. Jane Kotain, Principal of Bombay Scottish School Powai, said “It can be considered as an invasion of privacy unless we have a reason to believe that students are indeed bringing something harmful.”

However, she claimed that the school usually advises its parents to casually check their own children's bags once in a while.

“As far as the mandate goes, it may be a step in the right direction but it only serves a small part of the purpose as children with an intention to harm will find a way through... They can always carry a small weapon on their person. A good way of maintaining security at school is to have automated bag check machines at its gates as this can save precious manhours... (provided it fits into the school budget),” added Kotain. 

When questioned about whether Mumbai schools should implement a similar step, Kotian responded, “Even if Mumbai schools were to adopt this requirement, I cannot imagine how many schools would conduct this search regularly. And is it really such a fool-proof solution?”

Akshata Shetty, a science teacher from Somaiya School suggests that surprise bag checks could proactively improve school safety. 

She says” Parents and teachers may appreciate the initiative as it aims to create a secure environment for students by preventing potential harm. These days teenagers get easily influenced and involved in substance abuse. These random checks can also help to identify such students and guide them accordingly.”

In contrast, Jyoti Nair, principal of Arunodaya Public School in Thane, expressed concerns about the feasibility of such initiatives in government schools.  "Even though the initiative may have a good intention, the city's government schools may not have the resources or staff to carry it out,” said Nair.

Ruddhi Phadke, a parent of a class 8 student, claimed that there is already an existing practice of bag checks in many schools and stressed the parental responsibility in ensuring students do not carry harmful items. “As parents, we must also ensure that our children do not take any unsafe items to school or anyplace else,” said Phadke. 

Mohammed Azharuddin Khan, a resident of Dongri, Mumbai and a parent of three kids, believes that regular bag checks are required in all schools but forming a committee just for this is not required. 

“As a parent, we also ensure that none of our kids own any material that may be harmful,” said Khan. 

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