Breaking its silence five days after the murder of a child at Ryan International School in Gurugram, the CBSE on Wednesday announced that the onus of safety of students on campus lies solely with school authorities.
The CBSE said this in response to a Supreme Court query in the aftermath of the Gurugram school murder. On Wednesday, the board sent a circular on 'safety of children' to its affiliated schools, giving them two months to complete psychometric evaluation of all staff — teachers, non-teaching employees, sweepers, bus drivers and conductors included.
"Owing to increasing incidents involving safety and well-being of school children, the onus for safety and security of children on campus shall solely lie upon the school authorities," says the circular, adding: "It is the fundamental right of a child to engage and study in an environment where he/she feels safe and is free from any form of physical or emotional abuse or harassment."
The official word from CBSE will assuage parents jolted by the Ryan School murder. What may prove tough for schools is the mandatory psychometric evaluation. "Schools must get psychometric evaluation done for all the staff employed. Such verification and evaluation for non-teaching staff — such as bus drivers, conductors, peons and other support staff — may be done very carefully and in a detailed manner," the CBSE said.
Deputy secretary (affiliation) Jaiprakash Chaturvedi has asked schools to strive to promote better understanding among teachers and staff on "laws protecting the safety, security and interests of students". The latest rules require all schools to devise means to "take immediate remedial and punitive action against such violations." "The staff members should also be educated to recognize their protective obligation toward students and to ensure safety and well-being of children in schools," the circular says.
The HRD ministry's guidelines regarding preventive mechanisms and procedures to ensure safety of children in schools must be followed seriously, it adds, pointing out that the board has issued instructions from time to time to implement and sensitize schools to ensure safety of students during school time and while in transit. "These exhaustive provisions are required to be strictly followed by every school affiliated with CBSE to ensure complete safety of schoolchildren in school. In addition, the school authorities may immediately take strict measures to enhance the security of children in schools," the board said.