Peshawar tragedy prompts govt advisory to schools

It was first issued in 2010 after David Headley's interrogation

Peshawar tragedy prompts govt advisory to schools

Alerting schools about the Standard Operation Procedures (SOPs) to tackle Peshawar-type attacks, the Centre on Friday issued a set of instructions to educational institutions that include avoiding panic reaction and installation of CCTV cameras and alarm bells.

These instructions, on how to react to a terror attack where students are taken hostage, were earlier issued to schools in 2010. The nine-page document was first issued after David Coleman Headley told interrogators he had photographed and videotaped two boarding schools for the Lashkar-e-Toiba, besides prominent places that were targeted during the 26/11 attacks.

The SOPs provide details about preventive measures, and drills for children, teachers and security staff for any type of terror attack. According to it, in case terrorists manage to enter a school and hold people hostages, children and teachers should remain in their respective rooms, and those in the veranda should rush into their nearest rooms.

They should “not indulge in any rash act in panic, like running out towards door to escape,”. They should close the doors from inside and lie low in the classroom to escape random firing, said the guidelines. A centralised alarm system and a public address system, through which students could be addressed collectively as well as individually, should be installed.

Each school should have a concrete boundary wall with 3-4 gates. Each gate should be manned by at least three guards on a 24-hours basis, said the SOP. Telephone numbers of local police stations should be maintained and updated regularly.

“A telephone connection should be provided at the main gate of the school so that guards can inform the police in case of emergency without waiting to inform the nodal officer or the principal,” it said.

There should be proper illumination along the perimeter so that nobody can jump over the wall into the school compound at night. Concertina wire may be affixed on iron grills above the boundary wall to deter any such attempt.

Schools have also been advised that if a terrorist's location is known and safe passage is available from other classrooms to any of the gates, the students, led by their respective teachers should be taken out in a single file without any noise.  

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