Thursday, Nov 27, 2014

Bangalore schools cry foul over bid to impose new safety norms

Express News Service | Bangalore | Posted: July 31, 2014 12:21 am

Managements of private schools in Bangalore have opposed the city police’s move of imposing fresh safety guidelines in the institutions, including CCTVs and GPS systems in school buses.

Police issued the safety guidelines for the schools in Bangalore last week to prevent sexual offences against children, following the rape of a six-year-old student on campus earlier this month.

According to the norms framed by city police, all schools must be equipped with CCTV cameras, the school vehicles must have GPS and CCTVs cameras, school buses must have women assistants and proper identification has been made mandatory for anybody interacting with children in their schools.

The Karnataka Private School Joint Action Committee on Wednesday expressed difficulties in adhering to the norms laid down by police and also threatened to stop school transport facilities, if coerced into implementing the unilaterally created safety laws of police. The panel has demanded that police should convene a meeting with the school managements to resolve the issue.

In a press briefing Wednesday, the chairman of the private school management committee, L R Shivarame Gowda, said the safety measures will not be implemented till police department gives a hearing to their concern.

“We will not implement the guidelines until the police department convenes a meeting,” Gowda said. The panel submitted a representation to the Bangalore police commissioner and also sought time from the Chief Minister, Home Minister and Education Minister to discuss the issue.

“We know the costs of installing CCTVs and GPS devices in school buses. The education department has already issued guidelines on private transport facilities provided to schools and there is no need for more. Police are harassing private schools by issuing the new ones. We will stop transport facility for schools and let the government run the show,” Gowda said.

The Bangalore police have set an August 31 deadline for all schools in the city to implement fresh safety guidelines. “We will not follow the deadline. The commissioner must relax it and hold a meeting with schools,” Gowda said. “Some of the schools in the city already have facilities like CCTV and GPS. Let the government first apply these safety norms to government institutions. We also know our social responsibilities. We are running schools with responsibility,” he said.

Gowda said the committee had decided to hike school fees by 20 per cent in the middle of the academic year if the government fails to relax the deadline for installing CCTVs and GPS in schools and buses.

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