After Peshawar Attack, MHA Issues Guidelines on How to Deal With Terror Strike on Schools
NEW DELHI: A set of comprehensive guidelines on how to deal with any situation arising out of a terrorist attack has been sent to schools across the country in the wake of the Taliban massacre of 148 people, mostly children, in Peshawar.
The Standard Operating Procedures relate to preventive steps, drills for children, teachers and security staff in case of a bid for kidnapping, random firing, armed intrusion for hostage taking and explosives attacks, besides others.
Principals have been requested to read carefully the SOPs, prepared by the Home Ministry and circulated by the Central Board of Secondary Education, and bring it to the notice of all staff and teachers of the schools and develop a comprehensive action plan to implement the guidelines, official sources said.
"Each school should have concrete boundary wall, with three to four gates and each gate should be manned by at least three guards on a 24-hour basis. Details of telephone number of the Police Control Room and local police station should be maintained and updated regularly by the school authorities," the SOPs said.
There should be proper illumination along the perimeter so that nobody can jump over the wall into the school in the night for any nefarious activity. Concertina wire may be fixed on the iron grills above the boundary wall to deter any one from jumping over the wall.
In the SOPs, the schools have been advised to install CCTV systems all along the boundary as well as some additional locations inside the premises, to monitor the movement of any suspicious person, with recording facilities for the last three days, at least.
The CCTV system alarm may also be connected to the identified gates to close them automatically.
In case armed terrorists manage to enter the school and hold teachers/students/others hostage, inform the police immediately, initially all children and teachers should stay
back in their respective rooms and those in veranda, etc. rush to the nearest room, and not to indulge in any rash act in panic like running out towards door to escape, etc., it said.
They should close the doors from inside and lie low in the classroom to escape random firing, the SOPs said.
Schools are advised that if the location of a terrorist is known and there is safe passage available from the other classrooms to any of the gates, the children under the leadership of the respective teachers in a single file without making any noise should be taken out, the SOPs read.
Children may not be asked to gather in any open ground as they can become easy targets. In case of any doubt, there should be no movement and teacher and school authority should wait for the police to arrive, contain the situation, surround the terrorist and provide a secured passage for the children to move out from their respective places to outside the school, it said.
In case of random firing on the road near the school, there should be two guards at the main gate at the time of arrival or departure of children. Guard at the main gate should quickly take in all the children and close the gate.
Another guard should direct the buses and vehicles from which the children have not yet alighted to move on quickly and get out of the area. Guards at main gate will inform the police and also the nodal security officer of the school.
Alarm bells should be rung and intermediate gates be closed to prevent any children from coming outside.
If suspected explosive object is found in the vicinity of school or inside the premises, school staff, teacher and students should be regularly briefed not to touch any unattended object lying anywhere inside or outside the school.
In case any such object is found, the person who finds it should immediately bring it to the notice of the nodal security officer of the school.
The drill to be taken if there is any attempt for forcible entry when the school is already functional include immediate closure of all the gates on the perimeter wall after the arrival of children.
The guard should open the door only for bona fide reasons. Once the gates are locked, the probability of forcible intrusion considerably reduces, as even the intruder understands that in case he tries to enter forcibly, the school authorities can call the police and they may be intercepted even before they can achieve their objectives.