Wednesday, November 5, 2014

A Check for Child Safety

An increase in incidents of crime against girl children in school is not only appalling but also extremely shameful. It’s unimaginable that predators are committing sexual crimes on girl children as young as 3 years. Does it indicate a decline in our social values or is it that the schools are failing in their responsibility to ensure safety for children?

There is an urgent need for action and to set up a process for ensuring a Safe Environment for children in school, and it should be on top of the agenda. Since all the incidents of crime on girl children are occurring in the school premise the school authorities should be made accountable, they no more can shy away from the responsibility of ‘Safety’.

Government of Karnataka on 23rd July 2014 sent out a circular putting out the Guidelines & Safety Measures that Schools have to follow, and ensure safety for children at schools. The Guidelines & Safety Measures also has a Standard Operating Procedure that needs to be followed to prevent crimes, and an Action Plan how to deal with the crime if it occurs.

The Guidelines & Measures includes the role of Parents, School Management, Relevant Department and Police at each stage. The last date to implement the Guidelines & Safety Measures was 31st Oct 2014, and unfortunately many schools have not implemented the Guidelines & Safety Measures.

Indian Youth Congress (IYC) Karnataka has initiated a 3 day long audit (from 5th Nov) of all the schools in Bengaluru, with a single focus ‘to ensure safety for children at school’. IYC teams along with Civil Society Members and Volunteers are spread across the city, they will visit schools with a check-list of Guidelines & Safety Measures, understand the extent of implementation and compliance. All non-compliances will be reported to the nearest police station and a complaint will be filed against the school. IYC will also submit a detailed report on compliance to the State Government for further action.

‘Good Education and Safe Environment’ for children has to be everyone’s responsibility, schools have to play a major role in ensuring the Safety of children on their premises. School is a temple of learning and at no cost the schools should compromise on the Safety of the children. Parents admit their children in a school to ensure a better future and the better future cannot be scared by the ugly face of crime on them.

The initiative taken by the IYC team is indeed commendable and a public participation to make these kinds of events will indeed send a strong message to non complainant schools and to the perpetrators of crime on children.

For a better City, State and Nation ‘A Check for Child Safety’ is a must and its time the schools are transparent and keep open the process for audit on an ongoing basis and not as a onetime initiative.

- Kavitha Reddy

Also appeared in City Plus HSR Layout edition 8th Nov 2014 Click here