~ Expert Talk ~

How to keep your child safe?

Published on August 12,, 2019
Author:Sreelata Menon

There has been a spate of unsavory happenings in some of the top schools of the country recently. A lot of measures have been put in place by various school authorities and the Police since, to try and prevent such incidents and ensure our children’s safety. However considering the incidents that it is evident that those measures are not fool proof. Though ultimately it is the school’s responsibility and the buck stops with the Principal and the staff, parents and the school administration must come together to try and collectively see such occurrences do not happen.

What you can do?

1) Explain-emphasize to your child why they should not loiter on their own. Not to take short cuts or hitch a ride with anyone.
2) Tell them why they are not to speak to or go with strangers whatever the inducement. Keep tabs on their internet use..
3) Describe to them the modus operandi (Show you something/give you a toy- sweet/will take you to see a movie/give you an exciting ride etc.) that could be used to lure them away from their friends and the possible dangers.
4) Strongly stress on the fact that they -son or daughter-are never to go alone with a male adult even within the school.
5) Make it clear to them why absolutely no one - the school attendant or anyone they know should enter the toilet with them - to immediately run away or make a noise or call for help if they do.
6) Insist they get a friend to accompany them always if they need to go out of class or keep the teacher informed.
7) Every now and then, personally check out the safety measures provided by the school
8) Ensure CC TVs at all vulnerable places. 24/7 surveillance to be set up. Check them out periodically to see if the school is sincere in keeping it working
9) Make doubly sure with the authorities that the school staff including attendants, bus drivers, helpers, conductors and security personnel have minimal contact with children. Non- teaching staff to have separate toilets and waiting areas away from the children and always under supervision. Sign-in /sign out registers to keep tabs on their movement.
10) See that the school regularly-every few hours preferably- have someone check/patrol the toilets and storage/lonely/pool areas of the school. Supervision to be done together by a male as well as a female teacher always
11) Back a professional agency to do the background check of everyone employed. Police verification a must. Insist on it.
12) Ensure that schools hold sessions regularly to prevent bullying and ragging. Make the school feel accountable by engaging with them often.
13) Meet the school Counselors and Psychologists who tackle such problems. Attend PTA meetings regularly. Become familiar with everything your child does in school.
14) Older children be taught self defence techniques.
15) Children to report anything however frivolous to the school authorities or a specified mentor. Ensure they know who to call in case of an emergency
16) Spend time with your kids when they come home from school. Give them time to unwind then debrief them about what happened in school/who they met and why etc.
17) Pay attention to what your children have to say. Give them the confidence to be able to confide in you however ridiculous it is
18) Despite care accidents happen so parents must ensure that schools are held accountable-that schools cooperate and not go on the defensive.
19) Keep the school authorities on their toes .Check to see if their safety measures are up to date or not regularly.

We presently live in a rather volatile and harsh social world. Despite our best efforts always be aware that human nature being such, horrifying incidents can happen anytime anywhere. While it is certainly the schools’ responsibility to keep our children safe they cannot do it alone. We as parents need to give them all the help we can. We can do so by educating our children and arming them with enough knowledge to protect themselves at a crunch. So however busy a parent you are please ensure that your child is clued up and primed to avoid trouble. This will go a long way in helping to keep them out of harm’s way.

Parents’ Concerns:

 Schools should restrict the entry of vendors (painters / banner wala etc) during school time.
 Installed CCTV cameras don't have much of clarity. CCTV cameras don't work most of time. Admin team takes time to get it repaired whereas they should have proper TAT for such repairs. By Shweta Sabarwal
 During school hours, care is taken that no unauthorized person enters the school.
 CCTV cameras to cover all possible areas of the school and a team should be deployed to monitor the live CCTV footage.
 Additional ladies guards to be deployed at important areas which can help in raising alarm.
 Kindergarten kids should be accompanied by a reliable assistance to washrooms.
 Compulsory Parent ID Cards should be made and the Child should not be handed-over to anyone without authority.

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