A long way to go in ensuring safety

Random Parking

A long way to go in ensuring safety

The unfortunate death of six-year-old Manish after coming under the wheels of his school van within the school premises has outraged the City.

But this incident hasn’t provoked the management of schools across the City to do a reality check on whether safety norms are being adhered to in their schools. Metrolife visited a few schools across the City and found out that those who owned a large fleet of school buses chose to park these in open spaces within the schools, such as playgrounds, driveway and basketball courts, rather than create a separate area for them.

Despite having a large area, schools that own buses seem reluctant to invest in separate parking spaces where children are not allowed.

The Bishop Cotton Girls’ School owns eight school buses, in addition to a hiring a few BMTC buses, to ferry the children. But these buses are parked in a corner of the playground and there is no parking slot. Aaron Priyakumar, manager (transport) of Bishop Cotton Girls’ School states, “The BMTC buses are allowed to enter the school premises only 15 minutes before the children head back home. And the school buses are parked in a corner of the playground and not in the central area.”

He adds, “There are plans to build a separate area only for parking the school buses. As of now, our security guards watch over the children and make sure that they don’t stray into the bus-parking area.”

The Delhi Public School (North), near Bagalur, owns a fleet of 100 buses, which
are parked in line in the playground.

When the school disperses, the children are assisted by the teachers and helpers to their respective buses. Renu Dimri, headmistress of the school says, “There are about 100 attenders in our transport department, who make sure that children don’t go behind the bus and play in the area where the buses are parked. Each bus has one teacher, a driver, two student bus monitors and an attender. The attendance of the children are taken before the bus leaves the premises, which ensures that no child is missing.”

Renu states that there are three sirens that go off before the buses leave. “The first siren is a sign that children should head to the buses. By the second siren, children should have settled down in the buses and after the third, the buses leave,” she notes.
The Kensri School in Hebbal owns 18 buses and the school management has now made provisions for the school buses to enter and leave from a separate area, which is walled.

“We have also installed a CCTV in the area where the buses are parked and there is a team to monitor the CCTV movements during school hours. We have teenagers who travel by bus and we don’t let the drivers and attendants take them for granted,” says Srish Kumar, founder of the school.

He further says, “The cameras also help us keep tab of children’s movement and the security in-charge to make sure they do their duties well.”

The St John’s High School has school vans parked in the basketball court, when it is not in use, and near the playground as well. Arul Raj, office superintendent of the school, says, “We don’t have an area just for the parking of school buses but the buses are parked in the basketball court after school hours and near the playground. We have attenders and helpers who make sure children don’t play in the parking area.”  
 
Surprisingly, the transport department of the State has no provisions when it comes to rules, regarding parking for school vans within the school premises. Maruthi Sambrani, joint commissioner, transport department says, “The transport department has no rules regarding parking within schools. It is an internal matter and it is for the school management to make separate parking slot for school vans within their premises.”  
Parents don’t seem convinced with the way schools handle the transport of children.

Divya, a housewife, says, “Bangalore is growing at a drastic pace and I don’t blame the schools for getting hassled while transporting children. I think parents must take responsibility for children’s safety rather than rely on the transport department in schools.” Gaaza, a mother of two, sums up saying, “I don’t think there are proper parking provisions in schools and I don’t think the drivers and attenders are trained to handle the children’s safety.”

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