Safety and Security in
Schools

By Sushil Pradhan

 

Safety and Security in Schools: Are We Doing Enough?

The brutal murder of a seven-year-old student at Ryan International School in Gurgaon in September 2017 (and subsequent outrage and protests) has once again brought into sharp focus the aspect of safety of children in schools. A police Special Investigation Team (SIT) report found major deficiencies in security arrangements of the premises. There has been name-calling, recriminations, and intensified calls for implementing stringent and uniform security norms across schools in India. A spate of regulations by multiple authorities has quickly followed. 

According to India’s Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), “Owing to increasing incidents involving safety and well-being of school children, the onus for safety and security of children on campus shall lie solely upon the school authorities,”. It further says, “It is the 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.” The Supreme Court has also issued comprehensive guidelines for the safe commute of children to / from schools.

Are schools doing enough? Apparently not!

In our interaction with the heads of many schools, we found that they had good intentions to have a strong school security set-up; but:

  • No documented security policy
  • No ownership of the security function
  • No dedicated budget for security

The various guidelines and regulations that are now being insisted upon can only be useful if they are followed as much in spirit as in letter.  Security and safety in schools must become a key element of the educational environment being provided by it; and be owned by the management. In view of the emerging scenario, there exists a need to put in place a periodic training and audit regime to sustain a high-performance security culture. 


Creating a safe school means much more than eliminating threats to life from accidents (such as drowning, fire, travel related accidents, violent attacks, terrorist attacks or violence related to physical fights and capital punishment), but also eliminating evils such as bullying, teasing, physical harassment, biases (racial, sexual or caste based) or cyber-bullying which are often precursors to larger incidents/events. School safety and security is much about care, sensitivity and protection.

While this would be a progressive journey, there is an emergent need to:

  • Identify the security gaps through an audit or risk assessment
  • Implement measures to plug these gaps - by humans, technology and processes
  • Increase security awareness of all stakeholders – management, teachers, administrators, non-teaching staff, students and parents

This will help build the confidence of parents and students in the safe/secure environment being provided in your school’s campus; and also pass the muster of future regulators who are likely to be intrusive, demanding and unforgiving.    

 

About the author

Sushil Pradhan, COO – Information Services.


Disclaimer: Any views or opinions represented in this blog are of the author and do not represent those of MitKat. Any views or opinions are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, or individual.

Published On - Sep 29,2017

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