“Children are not in a position to assess risk and safety; it must be done for them, and it must be done carefully”. – Siri Hustvedt
The safety of your child is a matter of paramount importance. The separation anxiety experienced by most parents while their child is at school is accentuated by the growing security concerns they might have. Whenever someone searches for the phrase ‘best schools near me’ on Google, they are primarily looking for an academic institution offering top-notch education and world-class security arrangements. While most Indian schools seem to completely sideline child security, the best schools in Gurgaon value child safety and have proper security arrangements in place. Every Indian school must have the following security measures in place, in order to nurture a safe haven for children of all ages:
1. Safe School Buses
School-owned buses must be made available to all students, wherein all routes must be covered. Some students have to resort to private vans and vehicles due to the unavailability of school buses on all routes. These private means of transportation are not completely safe and are difficult to track and monitor. Malicious individuals often prey upon children while they are on their way to school, hence, it is safer for students to board the school bus. School buses must have at least one caregiver or helper to look after children. Installation of technological devices such as GPS and CCTV cameras might also help determine whether your child is safe while they are travelling.
2. School Security
The best modern schools have trained security personnel stationed at the school gate and on every floor. It is crucial for schools to ensure that all parents, students, visitors, and caretakers mandatorily identify themselves with a special ID issued on the behalf of the school. No individual without an ID card should be allowed on the school premises. As campus security is integral to student safety, the entire campus should be monitored by CCTV cameras. Schools must also make sure that caretakers are always available to escort little children to washrooms and classrooms. Also, students should not be allowed to leave the premises without authenticated class passes.
3. Internal Safety
Over the years, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has issued several circulars on child safety and well-being. As per these circulars, when it comes to hiring teachers, administrators, and other school staff, a thorough background check and police verification must be carried out by the school. This will allow schools to screen individuals who come in contact with students on a daily basis – teachers, administrators, peons, sports coaches, cleaning staff, security personnel, caretakers, and volunteers. Apart from this, children should be educated regarding fire safety management, structural safety, anti-ragging measures, protection against sexual harassment, etc. Further, the Board has also directed that schools must constitute separate committees for redressal of grievances of the staff, parents, and students and form an internal committee for complaints regarding sexual harassment under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offence Act, 2012. While these regulations demand a certain amount of accountability from the school’s end, it is crucial to adopt a holistic approach to help students tackle the issue of safety.
4. Medical Facilities
In order to ensure child safety from a medical perspective, all schools must have an ambulance with proper medical equipment ready at all times. A full-time doctor and a qualified nurse should be present in the sick rooms to take care of ailing children. Also, over-the-counter medicines should not be administered without medical supervision and parental approval. The availability and betterment of medical facilities should be taken up on priority by educational regulatory authorities.
Although the security scenario in Indian schools is improving, there is always scope for betterment. Guardians are advised to look into the security arrangements offered by a school before enrolling their child in one. There needs to be a proactive collaboration between schools, parents, and government institutions to establish and monitor safety procedures applicable to infrastructure, resources, transport, and holistic well-being.