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CBSE issues circular on safety of students

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has issued a circular laying down steps to ensure safety of children in schools, including installation of closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras on school premises and police verification and psychometric evaluation of all staff members.

The circular comes against the backdrop of a series of incidents in schools across the country in recent times, including the Gurugram murder. It said that as children spent most of their time in school, parents’ concern about the safety of schoolchildren and their mental and emotional health is increasing, particularly in the wake of incidents involving their safety.

The onus on safety and security of children on school campus should solely lie with the school authorities, the circular said adding that it was the fundamental right of children to study in an environment where they felt safe and free from any form of physical or emotional abuse or harassment.

Accordingly, schools have been asked to get a security/safety audit of the premises and personnel done by the local police station concerned and follow security-related advice for the safety of schoolchildren. It called for detailed checks in the case of non-teaching staff such as bus drivers, conductors, peons, and other support staff.

Supporting staff should be employed only from authorised agencies and proper records should be maintained.

The circular asked schools to report about the compliance on the CBSE website www.cbse.nic.in within two months.

Besides installing CCTV cameras at all vulnerable areas/points on school premises, schools had been asked to ensure that these were functional. Parent-teacher-student committees should be set up to address the safety needs of the students, and parents’ feedback taken regularly.

Significantly, it called for controlling access to school building by outsiders and monitoring of visitors. The circular said staff should be given training to discharge their responsibility to protect children from any form of abuse.

Schools should constitute separate committees for redressal of public/ staff/ parents/ students grievances, an internal complaints committee on sexual harassment, and committees under the POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offence) Act, and display details of these committees, along with contact details, on the school notice board and on the school website, the circular said, adding that any violation/lapses with regard to student safety and well-being would invite action, including disaffiliation of the school.

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