Days after the horrifying incidents of the murder of a seven-year-old student in a private school and the rape of another toddler at a school in National capital region, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) issued a notice to all its affiliated schools earlier last week enlisting new safety guidelines to ensure a child’s safety and security on school premises.
In its notification released on 12 September 2017, the CBSE said the onus of keeping students safe within schools would “solely lie upon the school authorities”. The guidelines came amid increased concerns about the safety of students in school premises following the gruesome incidents.
“As the children are spending most of their time in school, the concern of parents about the safety of school children is increasing every other day regarding their physical safety, mental & emotional health or child abuse owing to increasing incidents involving safety and well-being of school children. The onus for safety and security of children in school campus shall solely lie upon the school authorities. It is a fundamental right of a child to engage and study in an environment where he/she feels safe and is free from any form of physical or emotional abuse or harassment,” the CBSE directive stated.
The CBSE circular, published on the official website, stated that the CBSE-affiliated schools will have to comply with the new guidelines within two months from the release of notification.
The new safety guidelines issued are as follows:
1) Schools should strive to promote a better understanding amongst their teachers and staff on the laws protecting the safety, security and interests of the students and device means to take immediate remedial and punitive action against such violations. The staff members should also be educated to recognize their protective obligation towards students and to ensure safety and well-being of children in schools.
2) Schools will need to get the security /safety audit done on their premises and personnel from their respective local police station within the next two months.
3) Install CCTV Cameras at all vulnerable areas/point in the School premises and ensure they are functional at all times.
4) Police verification and psychometric evaluation must be conducted for all staff employees, emphasizing this be done meticulously for non-teaching staff as well like bus conductors, drivers, peon, and other support staff.
5) Ensure that supporting staff is employed only from authorized agencies and proper records are maintained.
6) Constitute parent-teacher-students committee to address the safety and security needs of the students and to take regular feedback from parents in this regard.
7) Closely monitor access to school buildings by outsiders and visitors.
8) Provide training and development for staff to address their responsibilities to protect children from any form of abuse.
9) The schools shall constitute separate committees for redressal of public, staff, parents, students grievances, Internal Complaints committee on sexual harassment and committees under POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offence) Act, 2012 and details of the these committees along with contact details shall be displayed prominently on School Notice Board and conspicuously on the school website for information of all stakeholders.
Making the safety guidelines mandatory for all its affiliated schools, the notification also said, “Any violation or lapses with regard to safety and well-being of children in school campus would invite appropriate action including the disaffiliation of the school as per the provisions under affiliation bye-laws of the board.”
To read the Circular: