A peek into safety aspects

A peek into safety aspects

Most schools take students out on excursions, which include short trips and trips to outstation destinations.

Even if the trips are short, schools follow elaborate procedures like obtaining consent letters from parents agreeing to the school authorities’ disclaimer that they would not be responsible for any untoward incident. Parents are told not to hold the school management responsible for anything that may happen during such outings.

Ensuring the safety of each child is a task in itself. But how responsible are the school managements when it comes to taking children out on excursions and picnics? .

Metrolife interacted with a couple of school managements to understand how they handle children on such outings. After a couple of freak accidents, involving school buses, most school managements are now doubly cautious in ensuring that the children are safe when they are taken out on trips. They point out that they do a thorough check on the venue, the distance between the school and the venue and an inspection of the safety aspects of the place. Sometimes, the school principal travels with the older children if they are taken on an overnight trip.

Mariamma S Mathew, principal of The Oxford Senior Secondary School in J P Nagar, says that there’s one teacher for every 20 children whenever they go on a trip. “First, I send a couple of our senior teachers to inspect the venue where the children will be taken. We usually don’t allow children to go near the water and if it is an amusement park, then all safety measures are taken. I also make sure extra staff go with the children,” explains Mariamma.

She further says, “If the senior children are taken on an overnight tour, then I accompany the children and take complete responsibility and control of the situation. But we try and avoid overnight trips.”

Sabitha Ramamurthy, principal of CMR National Public School, says she has stopped overnight schools trips. “I am very nervous every time the children are taken out on a school trip. We provide enough staff, medicines and take regular attendance on trips to make sure that the children don’t wander away. But controlling the children is a huge challenge,” notes Sabitha.  

Parents agree that consent letters, stating that school managements are not responsible for any untoward incident, are ridiculous. Usha Kumar, a mother of two, says that she has always sent her sons on school trips but what troubles her are the consent letters. “Saying that they are not responsible is a very harsh statement. But I took the risk of sending my children. I think life is all about taking risks and fortunately they have always returned safe,” she says.

“Schools trips make kids more independent, help them develop leaderships qualities and enhance bonding among teachers and students,” she adds. Sandhya, another parent who has always sent her only son on all his school trips, notes that she has never signed a consent letter. “The school management has always maintained a friendly relation with the parents. I was always sure that the school would take care of the children,” she wraps up.

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