Circular on SMS updates on child safety irks schools

Parents too say it is not possible to send messages to schools daily; police issue advisory after recent incidents of kidnap, sexual assault

Published: 17th September 2017 03:14 AM  |   Last Updated: 17th September 2017 11:18 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

BENGALURU: A recent circular issued by some police stations in the city on the safety of children has irked school managements and parents alike. The police want school managements to introduce an SMS system and get updates daily from parents to know if the child has reached home safely or not.
It works like this: Parents have to send an SMS in the morning after the child leaves home for school, the managements have to SMS the parents once the child leaves school in the evening. And the parents have to keep the school informed after the child returns home.

The advisory comes in the wake of recent incidents of kidnapping of schoolchildren, sexual assault and other crimes. The school managements say it is not practical to keep tabs on children once they leave the premises while parents too say that it may not be possible to send SMSes daily though it is in the safety fo the child as majority are working parents.

SR Nagar police have issued a similar circular to all schools and colleges that come under their jurisdiction asking them to introduce an SMS system to get daily upadates from parents on the child’s safety.
D Shashikumar, general secretary of Associated Managements of Primary and Secondary Schools in Karnataka, said, “The police department issuing such a circular in the name of safety of children is not practical. Such a knee-jerk reaction putting the responsibility of a child’s safety on the managements is illogical. We urge the police department and the commissioner to intervene and advise officers to first know the safety and security norms that are in force already.”

He said every police station coming out with its own safety norms only adds to the confusion.  “A few days back some police stations issued a circular asking schools in their jurisdiction to install CCTV cameras even in toilets.  Later, they withdrew it. The police department should think before issuing such circulars,” he said.

However the circular issued by SR Nagar police warned managements that in case of any incident of crime against children is reported, then the school management will be held responsible. “We feel this is a way of passing on the responsibility. Most schools follow child safety guidelines like installing CCTVs and conducting the background check of the staff. What more can we do,” Shashikumar said. “It is not that all chidlren go home directly. Some high school and college students go out with friends. In such cases, if we don’t get an update from parents, it creates tension,” he said.

A representative of a school located at SR Nagar police limits said, “There are over 5,000 students in our school. Do the police expect us to send SMS to all of them every day? And can parents do the same?”
Even parents feel it is not feasible.  Reena, a parent, said, “My son is in high school. My husband and I are employed. He is alone at home till we return. How can we ask him to send an update to his school?”

‘Not practical’
Some police stations: Schools must introduce SMS system and get daily updates from parents on when the child leaves for school and after it returns home.
Schools:
It is not practical . We can’t keep tab on children after school hours
Parents:
Though it is in the name of safety of children, majority are working parents and it is not possible to
send updates

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