The murder of a seven-year-old in a reputed Gurugram school’s premises and the rape of a five-year-old girl by a school peon in Delhi have opened a Pandora’s box of concerns.
Parents now worry about the physical safety, mental and emotional health of their wards as well as its security and well-being.
Alarmed by the gruesome incidents, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) issued a new set of security-related guidelines on Tuesday, that are to be followed by educational institutions across the country, lest they face the perils of being derecognised.
“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 directive said.
Following are the guidelines issued in the circular posted by CBSE:
1. The 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 devise means to take immediate remedial and punitive action against such violations.
2. The staff members should also be educated to recognise their protective obligation towards students and to ensure safety and well being of children in schools.
3. Get the security /safety audit done on their premises and personnel from their respective local police station and follow the security related advice for the safety of school children. This may be compiled and reported online on the CBSE website within two months of receipt of the circular.
4. Install CCTV Cameras at all vulnerable are as/point in the school premises and ensure they are functional at all times.
5. They must get the police verification, and psychometric evaluation is done for all the staff employed. Such verification and evaluation for non-teaching staff such as bus drivers, conductors, peon and other support staff may be done very carefully and in a detailed manner.
6. Ensure that supporting staff is employed only from authorized agencies and proper records are maintained.
7. To constitute a parent-teacher-students committee to address the safety needs of the students and to take regular feedback from parents in this regard.
8. The access to school building by outsiders should be controlled and visitors monitored.
9. To provide training and development for staff to address their responsibilities to protect children from any form of abuse.
10. The school shall constitute separate committees for redressal of public/staff/parents/students grievances, Internal Complaints committee on sexual harassment and committees under POCSO Act and details of 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.
11. All schools affiliated with CBSE are at this moment directed to strictly adhere to all the guidelines issued by Ministry of Human Resource Development and Board from time to time. Any violation/lapses about 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.