BANGALORE : With increasing cases of crimes against children on school campuses, the focus is back on background checks of school staff. The police, who are supposed to carry out such verification, do not seem to be making much headway while school authorities are sceptical that it will serve much purpose.
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Shashikumar D, general secretary of Karnataka Private Schools Association, told Express that most of the member schools submitted their applications with details of the teaching and non-teaching staff for police verification almost a month ago. But the police are yet to get back with their reports.
City Police Commissioner M N Reddi maintained that his men were on the job. “Background verification of school staff is not the only thing that we are doing. Apart from passport verification, we also get requests from various companies to check into the background of prospective employees. This is an ongoing process and our men will do the job in time,” he said.
The lack of clarity on how the verification process will be carried out is also a cause for concern among many teachers and school staff, especially women.
As the wait continues, a few school employees are becoming apprehensive, said T M Satyanarayana, vice-president, Associated Managements of English-medium Schools, Karnataka (KAMS). He said, “Teachers feel it will be embarrassing if their neighbours find police visiting their houses. We have been told that the police officers will visit the houses in civilian clothes. Yet, there is apprehension.” Shashikumar said the process is long drawn and the police, being short-staffed, are not able to manage the task. “Since most of the staff are women, it is necessary that women constables visit the staff and do background checks. This has only added to the wait,” he said.
Srinath S S, secretary of Rajarajeswari English School, noted that police might start the process after Thursday, the cut-off date for all schools to submit their applications.
Reddi, however, allayed any fears, saying that the police will not be visiting school staff at their homes, but will only check their antecedents in police records at the stations to ensure that the staff have no criminal background.
Not All Schools Are Happy
Following the alleged rape of a three-year-old last week, more schools are initiating the process of getting background checks on their staff. But they are clueless about what happens next and many are even questioning the relevance of such checks.
“We submitted an application a week ago with details of seven of our teachers. But most of our teachers, who are adequately qualified and who have been with us for long, are asking us why is this being done now. They have even asked us to take up this matter with the police commissioner. Though I think background checks are useful, it will not solve the problem entirely. The problem has arisen out of the inefficiency of certain school managements and now the entire community is being questioned,” said Rangalakshmi Srinivasa, principal, Basaveshwara School.