Over the last 14 years, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has issued several circulars emphasizing the importance of school safety and security. In summary, the briefs talked about fire safety management, violence in schools, sexual abuse, structural safety, and safety in school buses.
As one of the best Indian schools in Kuala Lumpur, Global Indian International School has taken every measure to ensure compliance with the CBSE directives and safeguard their students and faculty members’ safety and security.
According to the Malaysian Human Rights Commission, the government must regulate safety and security standards in all educational institutions, including religious and international schools. This is after the 2017 fire tragedy that left 21 students and two teachers dead. It must be noted, though, that harm is not limited to physical damage only, but also psychological and emotional.
With that in mind, let’s look at six safety measures all schools should take to ensure their students are safe and secure in and out of school.
1. Inspect school infrastructure
At the very basic, the physical safety of children should be a priority. While schools are encouraged to leverage low-cost and environment-friendly technologies, they must ensure they are structurally sound and safe for building. CBSE made it mandatory for all their affiliate schools buildings to be earthquake resilient and fitted with fire safety equipment.
Additionally, everything in the school environment from the swimming pool, computer rooms, toilets, laboratories, and play areas should be safe and secure. The areas must be inspected regularly to ensure there is no loophole where safety is concerned.
For instance, the swimming pool must be covered when not in use, the staircases must be strong and sturdy, the play area facilities must be in good shape, and the school must have a fire escape on top of essential fire equipment.
2. Surveillance and Vigilance
Schools are basically big places, so teachers can’t see everything that is happening. It is where CCTV cameras and round-the-clock surveillance comes in. There should be cameras in strategic locations such as corners, behind classes, and anywhere bullying or inappropriate behavior can occur. It’s also essential to have the cameras at the gate and long corridors to capture people coming into the school. Such surveillance will deter any form of abuse from happening.
3. Verification of staff members
Research shows that 90% of sexual and physical abuse in schools is perpetrated by teachers or other staff members, including drivers, cooks, cleaners, and coaches. The school must conduct a thorough background check on every staff member they plan to hire. The verification should include confirming their past employment, place of residence, and criminal records.
4. Visitors management
As cases of school shootings and kidnapping continue to grow in the USA, other countries should take the necessary measures to ensure unauthorized people do not go inside the school. Gone are the days when generic tags and permission slips written by the security guard were sufficient.
Such measures will include;
- A digital visitor management system where they will sign in their name, and have their face captured on camera. This will make it easy for the security guards to confirm parents, staff, and other visitors’ information.
- A digital security system such as a biometric system can also mark students’ attendance at the gate and note when they leave school.
- Instead of taking manual class attendance, a biometric system can be used to track where each child was every minute of the day.
5. School transportation safety
Over the years, instances of school bus hijacking and accidents have risen dramatically. For that reason, CBSE has also made it mandatory for school buses to install GPS on top of other easy to use systems that allow bus drivers to update parents of their children’s whereabouts.
The purpose of GPS integration is not just to locate where the bus is but also to monitor the performance of the driver, in case he is driving too fast or recklessly.
As an extra safety measure, the school must have periodic mechanical inspection of the buses by a professional to ensure all buses are in tip-top shape and well serviced.
6. Mental health
Mental issues among young people have become prominent thanks to media influence and the times we are living in. More than ever, schools must prepare to help students who are struggling with mental issues such as depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and other behavioral problems that could manifest as violence and aggression. With qualified counselors who are vigilant and regular sessions for all students, schools can minimize issues of suicide and dropouts.
While it’s not possible to protect children 100%, these safety measures can keep them away from catastrophes leading to harm or even death. Students and faculty members must also be educated on safety and security basics and how to react in case of, for example, fire or hijacking.