Bengaluru hoax bomb threat to schools: Avoid private events on school premises, says gov't

Experts are not happy with the government just issuing an advisory and leaving it at that
This is what the advisory says | (Pic: EdexLive)
This is what the advisory says | (Pic: EdexLive)

After 68 schools in Bengaluru received a hoax bomb email on December 1, the Department of School Education and Literacy (DSEL) has issued an order directing all government, aided and unaided schools not to allow their premises for purposes other than academics and extracurricular activities by students, stated a report in The New Indian Express.

For non-academic activities, the schools must take permission from the government. The principals must inform the police and DSEL officials if anyone is found loitering on the premises of their schools or they get threatening emails, the order stated.

Meanwhile, educationists batting for a robust Child Protection Policy said, “Now is the right time for the policy.”

BB Cauvery, Primary Education Commissioner, said, “We issued the order post the hoax bomb email threat, directing the schools that children should not be used for any other activity. It's easy to use students as fillers in private events, risking their safety. Fortunately, it was a false alarm. But we wanted to take precautions. Private events on school premises should be avoided. But if they are held, they need permission from the department.”

She said the government will deliberate and take into account the guidelines issued by the high court. “We do need better protection for schoolchildren,” she added.

Experts not happy?
However, experts are not happy with the government just issuing an advisory and leaving it at that. They want action and laws that protect children. An order regarding the policy was passed in 2016. However, neither the schools nor the government made any progress, they said.

Nagasimha Rao, Director, Child Rights Trust, said, “While some schools follow the circulars, many don’t. Teachers and parents should be trained in crisis management and given guidelines for disaster management. The December 1 incident was an eye-opener. The government should ensure better coordination between various departments and strict adherence to the cyber policy.”

He underscored the need for counsellors in schools for not just academics, but also to manage crises.

Experts said Special Juvenile Police (SJP) and Child Welfare Officers (CWO) should visit schools and make sure that safety protocols are in place.

Shashi Kumar D, General Secretary, Associated Management of Primary and Secondary Schools in Karnataka (KAMS), said, “Anybody can trespass and misuse the school property. Public schools are vulnerable and many activities take place there because there is no security and no additional staff like private schools. We hear so many instances regularly.”

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