Are schools as safe as our homes – Think about it

In India, we always thought as a parent that it is easy to raise a boy child and difficult to raise a girl child. These thoughts have been floating since many generations now. But after the recent incidents in Ryan International School, Gurugram and GD Goenka Public School, Ghaziabad, parents, guardians, and relatives are in a state of turmoil and shock. The Questions that arise: Safe Schools, Are Kids Safe, Kids Safety. We need to build a safe environment for our children.Build Safe Schools, Are Kids Safe, Kids Safety is important.

There are all these laws for child safety in place just like the Directive Principles in our established constitution but lack the teeth to put those responsible behind bars. We as Indian citizens need to allow an environment where these laws are truly and efficiently implemented. We need to work together for our Kids Safety, we need to find answers for questions like Are Kids Safe. Build Safe Schools, Are Kids Safe, Kids Safety is important.

Parenting in the age of millennia’s is in itself a challenge without borders, full of digital dangers and peer pressure which has a whole new meaning.  The minimum we as parents do is wishful thinking that since we pay hefty fees to these so call prime institutions, it’s a safe environment which is a bare minimum expectation. Build Safe Schools, Are Kids Safe, Kids Safety is important.

Throughout the years, the Apex court has issued ground rules for safety measures for school children and school transport. The CBSE has also issued guidelines after the Ryan International School incident. The episode at GD Goenka School prompted a PIL for enhanced medical aids at schools by the parents of the late child. In another instance, a kid from a Noida school lost 25 percent of his listening ability for being slapped for a bet while being taped on the application Snapchat – a casualty of cyber-bully.Build Safe Schools, Are Kids Safe, Kids Safety is important.

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There have been multiple incidents in our country. Some sexual in nature, some because of carelessness and others because of resolute mischief perpetrated on our youngsters. Are our kids safe at school which is probably their second home, picked by their own parents or guardians? Build Safe Schools, Are Kids Safe, Kids Safety is important. Will the rules help protect them?  However, security is a state of mind. A protected school fabricates a culture of wellbeing where there is both mindfulness and sharpness with affectability. This is motioned from numerous points of view, not simply in keeping an eye out for sexual misconduct. It is the undertaking of a school, government, and our community to give a sheltered, mindful and nurturing environment.Build Safe Schools, Are Kids Safe, Kids Safety is important.

Pradhyumn’s murder was not an isolated incident.  A child immersed in a water tank at Ryan International’s Vasant Kunj branch in Delhi around a year ago. The school’s Mumbai branch had undergone inquiry after a pupil was beaten by a teacher two years back. The youth was later suspended by the school. Several days after Pradhyumn’s murder, a five-year-old young girl was sexually assaulted in a Delhi school. Build Safe Schools, Are Kids Safe, Kids Safety is important. In April, a school near Hindon Airbase on the border of Ghaziabad when a cricket ball hit him on the head. In January, a Class II student of DPS World School in Noida Extension passed on in the wake of being harmed in a karate competition at school.Build Safe Schools, Are Kids Safe, Kids Safety

In July, a three-and-a-half-year-old young kid was molested by a school taxi driver in Bengaluru. Prior this month, a 54-year-old British national was captured for sexually violating three visually impaired pupils at a south Delhi-based visually impaired school.

Crime Against Kids, Safe Schools, Are Kids Safe, Kids Safety

As indicated by the most recent National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data, India recorded 94,172 instances of felony against youngsters in 2015 as against 89,423 cases in 2014. Four states and Union regions contributed the greater part of such cases. Maharashtra represented 14.8% of such violations, Madhya Pradesh 13.7%, Uttar Pradesh 12.1% and Delhi 10.1% of such cases.

As per NCRB, the wrongdoing rate against youngsters amid 2015 was 21.1, which means no less than 21 kids in each 100,000 kids population were casualties of violations, for instance, rape, homicide, molestation, kidnapping, and abandonment. The wrongdoing rate was the most astounding in Delhi (169.4) trailed by the Andaman’s (75), Chandigarh (67.8), and Mizoram (50.1) and Goa (46.5)

Schools in India across boundaries have diverse rules and laws with respect to security measures. In any case, we have to have one extensive enactment that can cover all the key territories in regards to wellbeing and security in schools for our children.Keep Safe Schools, Are Kids Safe, Kids Safety

To observe a few arrangements there must be a coordinated effort between the various bodies as school, staff, police, lawmakers, parents, and government. This safety issue has to be a collective effort. Everyday ?.our children are facing the sexual predators on campus. Lets collectively build a safe environment for the young ones. Let’s build Safe Schools, Let’s take a pledge for Kids Safety, Let’s not avoid the question: Are Kids Safe

Some checkpoints for school and parents: Build Safe Schools, Are Kids Safe, Kids Safety is important.

Medical facilities: First aid, on duty certified nurse and an ambulance is the minimum facility a school should provide

Sexual Harassment Prevention cell: Schools should build a special counseling team to address issues related to child abuse and to teach children about sex education. Schools must certify police verification of both teaching and non-teaching staff. Child security cells must be built up and strategies ought to be drafted to guarantee the same inside school premises…

Transport Safety: The Supreme Court has issued guidelines for school buses. The following points should be taken into consideration:

  • “SCHOOL Transport” ought to be composed unmistakably on the back and front of a van or private transport.
  • The transport ought to have a first aid box and a fire extinguisher…
  • The driver ought not to surpass 50 kmph in speed.
  • Windows should be fitted with horizontal grills.
  • The transport driver and conductor ought to be in
  • appropriate uniform.
  • All vehicles ought to have legitimate yearly fitness certificates.
  • The name of the school and contact points of interest must be composed on the transport legitimately.
  • The transport entryways ought to be fitted with solid locks.
  • The driver ought to have a legitimate permit and no less than five years involvement in driving heavy transportations.
  • There ought to be no less than one conductor on each school transport.
  • If it is a procured transport or van, it ought to have “ON SCHOOL DUTY” noticeably showed.
  • “SCHOOL BUS” should be written prominently on the back and front of a van or private bus.
  • The bus should have a medical first aid box and a fire extinguisher.
  • The driver should not exceed 50 kmph in speed.
  • Windows should be fitted with horizontal grills.
  • The bus driver and conductor should be in proper uniform.
  • All vehicles should possess valid annual fitness certificates.
  • The name of the school and contact details must be written on the bus.
  • The bus doors should be fitted with reliable locks.
  • The driver should have a valid license and at least five years experience in driving heavy vehicles.
  • There should be at least one conductor on every school bus.
  • If it is a hired bus or van, it should have “ON SCHOOL DUTY” prominently displayed. 

Fire safety

  • Students and staff need to train on fire safety
  • Fire exits should be located at convenient, accessible points
  • Students and teachers need to be instructed about evacuation plans
  • Loose electrical wires must be tended to immediately
  • A procedure must be put in place to conduct structural audits of the school building
  • Banisters and railings must be sturdy along the staircase and corridors. They should also be well-lit

Computer room

  • Students working on computers should be well monitored.
  • Social networking sites should be blocked
  • Sensitive documents, exam papers, and results should be password-protected.
  • Only educative sites must be accessible

Toilets

  • Gateway to the toilets need to be well monitored
  • Especially at pre-primary and primary level
  • There should be a maid to watch out the entrance of all toilets (a desk and chair can be placed for maid outside the toilet area)
  • Children’s toilet should not be accessible to any other staff or adults

 Other safety requirements

  • Badges and name tags should be made mandatory for teaching and non-teaching staff
  • Police verification and psychometric evaluation of the teaching and non-teaching staff should always be undertaken
  • Visitors must have limited access to the school
  • CCTV cameras need to be installed across school premises and should be regularly monitored

Cyber Bullying

According to Teens, Tweens and Technology’s Report 2015, Cyberbullying is targeting a person on social media to cause harassment or embarrassment.” Schools should take the following actions:

  • Teaching children about cyber etiquette.
  • Conducting workshops on how cyberbullying takes lives. As in the recent case of blue whale game which not only affected the west but also the interior belts of India as seen in Bengal, Assam, Maharashtra to name a few.
  • Awareness:  Teach youngsters and make them mindful of their own rights over their bodies. It’s not possible for anyone to charge them to do what isn’t right. (It regularly annoys me that when we prepare our youngsters in total or absolute obedience we put them in danger.) Show youngsters about good and bad touch. Disclose to them that they have the right to state no. Show them that their ‘No’ must be regarded. Demonstrate to them what to state and do to spare themselves…
  • Include parents in the safety community: Share their tools of keeping children safe. Help them understand that often sexual abuse comes from known people. Share the statistics and the stories. Engage experts to run the communication and workshops with parents – because these are issues that are about fears, vulnerability, and hurdles – and must be handled with sensitivity.
  • Spreading awareness about why it is an issue and must be spoken about.
  • Psychiatric support and counseling must be made available to anyone who has fallen prey to cyberbullying.

Safety is Everyone's Responsibility

What is the rest of the world doing to keep children safe? Build Safe Schools, Are Kids Safe, Kids Safety is important.

Sex offenders database:  Since Dec 2012 Nirbhaya gang rape case there was a lot of noise about the sex offenders database being made in India. But what is the status now? Such sex offenders database has been operational in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and a few other English-speaking countries for more than a decade. Interestingly in the U.S. and South Korean database go even further. They allow the public to access these records so that the community may be aware of a sex offender in their locality.

The Indian crime rate has only inflated since the tragic Dec 2012 case. Our women and child safety has just deteriorated. India needs this information tool.

Good news from Gods own country- The Kerala government will launch a registry of sex offenders, the first of its kind in the country, Governor Justice (Retd) P Sathasivam said in Thiruvananthapuram on 23rd  Feb 2017. The registry will contain all identification details of sex offenders and would be kept in public domain, he said while detailing plans to check atrocities against women in the state. “It will be the first in the country,” he added. A comprehensive victim relief fund will be set-up by the state government to provide interim relief for victims of sex crimes, both children, and adults. However, there is no further update on its status. Still, some hope for the rest of the states to learn.

Keeping our families safe and sound is more than a priority, it’s who we are and it drives everything we do. It’s a sense of responsibility that we work hard to fulfill, seeking out the most current information and advice on how to protect ourselves and our little members during every stage of life—infancy and teenage years to the young adolescent—and in every situation—school security and keeping kids safe online. Safety is never ever an option, but a default priority. So prevent instead of waiting to cure. Hoping to create a safe haven for our little beings in togetherness. Looking forward to your valuable suggestions and comments

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