SAFETY AND SECURITY OF CHILDREN IN SCHOOLS: National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR)

Safety and Security of Children in Schools-NCPCR

Manual

This Manual is meant for all the stakeholders including the relevant ministries, departments, educational boards/ institutions, schools (heads/employees) and students.

This Manual has been prepared on the basis of following Acts/ guidelines/circulars etc:

1. Commission for Protection of Child Rights (CPCR) Act, 2005;Right of Children To Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009; Protection of Children Against Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act 2012; Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) (JJ) Act, 2015

2. Guidelines on Safety and Security of Children- MHRD

3. Guidelines on Food Safety and Hygiene for School level kitchens under Mid Day Meal Scheme- MHRD

4. Guidelines on Safety of School buses, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, GOI.

5. Instructions/Advisory/letters/guidelines/circulars issued by -Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan

6. SOP for dealing with any terrorist attack on schools: by Ministry of Home Affairs, Govt of India, issued by MHRD to all State Education Secretaries

7. Instruction on Bullying Prevention and ragging in schools- MHRD

8. Standards of Safety and Precautionary methods – CISCE

9. Activity book on Disaster Management for School students- NIDM

10. Operational guidelines, Child Health Screening and Early Intervention Services under NRHM-Ministry of Health and Family Welfare

11. CBSE circular on modification of its affiliation By-Laws to include Transport precautions

12. Guidelines issued by NVS on prevent Sexual abuse in JNVs.

13. Circular issued by Ministry of Home Affairs- MHRD

14. SSA framework (Chapter 6) on School Infrastructure and Development

15. A Handbook for Administrators, Education Officers, Emergency officials, School Principals/Teachers- NDMD, Ministry of Home Affairs

16. Guidelines for Swachh Bharat Mission-Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Govt. of India

17. Guidelines for Menstrual hygiene of girls – Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Govt. of India

18. What is RTE, A Handbook for teachers- Dept of Elementary Education, NCERT

19. CBSE- School Quality Assessment and Accreditation (SQAA)

20. FSSAI Guidelines

21. NCPCR guidelinesfor protection of children in sports, developed with SAI and NIMHANS

22. Guidelines for Eliminating Corporal Punishments in Schools by NCPCR


Meaning of School Safety

“School Safety” has been defined as creating safe environment for children, starting from their homes to their schools and back. This includes safety from any kind of abuse, violence, psycho-social issue, disaster: natural and manmade, fire, transportation. Emotional safety is especially important because it is often difficult for teachers and parents to detect emotional problems and difficulties in children. Bullying can cause victimized students to suffer from lower self-esteem and daily stress about their well-being.

Children require a healthy and supportive environment to grow and develop. Children of our country have constitutionally guaranteed fundamental rights to live with dignity and to have access to education in an environment that is safe, protective and conducive to growth and development. Everyone in school has a role to play in ensuring good safety, healthy and secure environment within the school; be it teachers, special needs assistants, visitors and contractors and students themselves.

As children spend a significant part of their childhood and formative years in schools, it is imperative that the ambiance in schools is positive and nurturing, where they feel safe and secure on the premises and with the care providers. Sense of safety and well being is also instilled in students when action is taken against misconduct or abuse, such as corporal punishment, discriminatory practices, bullying and other forms of verbal, emotional or sexual abuse, by teachers, other personnelor other students

Reportedly mostly physical harm in schools occur due to accidents such as slips, trips and falls, manual handling and contact with equipment. While the level of reported injury is low, it is worth noting the effect of such accidents, as in terms of time that the person being absent from work. It is significantly higher in education sector than in any other.

In a developing country like India, several schools are located remotely and in vulnerable areas. Many of them also fall short of responding adequately to emergency situations. There have been inclining trends reported regarding physical or psychological harm/ mental harassment/ discrimination caused to school students as a result of accidents, bullying, corporal punishments, harassment, stress and assault. Keeping in view of such incidents, it is important that the existing guidelines on safety and security of children in schools include a Safety and Security Checklist, as a ready reckoner.

This Manual on Safety and Security of children in Schools will act as comprehensive guidelines for the Education Departments, Educational Boards, school staff, students etc. This will also empower students to learn about safety measures.


Supreme Courts Directive on School Safety Norms in India

In a significant ruling, the Supreme Court ordered that no new government or private school would be given affiliation if the building did not have fire safety measures and earthquake-resistant structures. Pained by the heart-rending death of93 children in a fire at a Kumbakonam school in Tamil Nadu five years ago, a Bench comprising Justice H Dalveer Bhandari S Bedi said, “Children cannot be compelled to receive education from an unsound and unsafe building.”

Referring to painful incidents involving death of school children due to fire in Kumbakonam as well as Dabwali in Haryana in 1995, the Bench said, “It has become imperative that safety measures as prescribed by the National Building Code of India, 2005, be implemented by all government and private schools functioning in our country.”

The other directions to all state governments are:

* All existing government and private schools shall install fire extinguishing equipment within a period of six months
* School buildings are to be kept free from inflammable and toxic material or stored safely
* Evaluation of the structural aspect of the school building must be carried out periodically
* School staff must be well-trained to use the fire-extinguishing equipment


School Premises and Surroundings

KVS and NVS guidelines talk extensively about ensuring safety of the children in school surroundings and while a festival or celebration is being carried out in schools:

I. The School should maintain a distance from railway tracks to provide a safe environment. If school is located near any rail track, impact of such locations on the school structure should be examined by the local authorities for the safety of the students before issuance of structural safety certificate.

II. The School should maintain a distance from industry or chemical factory to provide a safe environment.

III. If school located near an industry or a chemical factory producing fatal chemical products, each member including teacher, student and other staff must be made aware about different chemical product and precaution to be taken in case eventualities from the leakage of chemicals in this area.

IV. First aid and other medical systems in place to safeguard school students.

V. Each member of school including students must be made aware on periodical basis about the procedures to be adopted in case of any emergency.

VI. No liquor/opium/bhang shop should be allowed to operate in proximity of school.


Minimum Standards for Safety-related to Sports

NCPCR guidelines developed with SAI and NIMHANS has suggested minimum standards for the safety of children in schools w.r.t to sports facilities:

I. Provision of adequate medical facilities in schools is required. In case of female trainees, provision of lady doctor/ lady nurse should be made. Tie up with local reputed hospitals / empanelled hospitals for catering to the medical emergencies of trainees.

II. Adequate and sufficient food/refreshment facilities for children while they participate in sports, as per norms fixed by SAI.

III. Provision of counselling services for the children who take part in these activities, periodically.

IV. The PT teacher and staff of school, should take the responsibility to monitor the system set up to address emergency pertaining to sports persons.

V. School that are providing specific sports should comply with relevant safety measures as per guidelines of SAI.


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SAFETY AND SECURITY OF CHILDREN IN SCHOOLS