Online campaign for safety audits in schools gathers two lakh signatures

Photo: Cdn.theconversation.com
Posted: Sep 13, 2017

In the wake of the gruesome murder of Pradyuman Thakur, a parent moved an online petition yesterday to garner support for making safety audits mandatory for all schools. Within a day, the petition got over two lakh signatures!

The petition will now be forwarded to Prakash Javadekar, minister of human resource development, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and chief ministers of Delhi, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.

Mother to a toddler Parul Sah, also the campaign initiator, explained, “This petition is for all parents. As a mother, I am constantly worried whether or not my daughter is safe — whether she in the right hands. We wait for the day our children start school... but now I think I am not prepared for it! I am not sure whether I should send my daughter to school at all!”

In her petition, she wrote: “There is no bigger grief in life than losing your own child and we are witnessing such crimes frequently now. Authorities and government will just give some lame excuse and forget it in a few days. There has been an alarming increase in the number of cases relating to child abuse and school safety. I am sure we have many questions on that.”

Through the petition, she urged the HRD ministry to make it mandatory for every school in India to conduct periodic audits to check basic security measures.

She has raised several demands through the campaign. They include:


1. Audits on backgrounds of all teaching and non-teaching staff at schools, vendors, and others. It needs to be ascertained whether or not they went through a psychological assessment — whether they are the right fit for the job.

2. Audits for CCTV cameras installed in private schools. Most private schools claim to have all security measures such as CCTV cameras, GPS and manual monitoring by private watchmen. But lapses and malfunctions have been common. These systems need to go through audits.

3.  Audits to ensure that no part of the school building, such as the washroom, is left completely unattended.

4. Audits to check whether or not the school is equipped to handle a medical emergency — whether it can provide basic first aid; it has a sick room and a doctor on call. Recently, a child died owing to medical negligence by school.

5. Audits to ensure that amenities offered to school staff and vendors are not the same as used by children — schools must have separate washrooms and cafeteria for outsiders.

6. Audits to ensure that special areas such as swimming pool, washrooms, water tanks where the child can get hurt have both male and female attendants. Some time back, a kid was found dead near the water tank and no one in the school had a clue.

7. Audits to ensure mandatory alarms in washrooms. They should be directly linked to the principal’s office and the concerned teacher’s mobile number. They should be the first ones to know if there’s an emergency.

8. Audits to ensure that mandatory sex education is imparted in schools — children should be made aware of bad and good touch. Suspicions should be immediately dealt with — and highlighted.    

9. Audits to ensure there are trained personnel to look into safety issues at school.

10. Audits to ensure that there is a safety council in school with parents as mandatory members. The consent of the parents should be mandatory for any change in basic policies.

TAGS: Pradyuman Thakur / Online / Campaign / Prime Minister / Narendra Modi / HRD Ministry