School transportation: Safety first

Sat, 04/28/2018 - 03:59

When a child goes to the school, one of the most crucial things that parents are concerned about is their security, be it in the school premises or while commuting. Even for a school, providing secure transportation is of utmost importance. Managing large transportation fleets is not possible for any school and therefore hiring external agencies becomes imperative.

These are some of the security measures that the school can take care of:
First and foremost, the vehicles should be of good quality and not more than three to five years old. Good quality buses will ensure their safety on road. Buses should have partitioned space for the driver and students. Geo-fencing of the bus routes is a must to ensure they do not deviate from the designed routes. Additional staff like guards and female helpers on duty should carry mobile phones to communicate with the parents. Drivers should only be concentrating on driving.
Inside the bus, the seating position of additional staff like the teachers on duty and guards should be facing the children. They should not be sitting with their backs towards the students. The teachers in the bus must ensure that all students are seated throughout the journey and only stand once the bus reaches a stop. Senior team members should go on surprise travels to observe and prepare feedback.
Along with that, the drivers should have driven school buses earlier with a minimum experience of five years. Even the conductors in the buses should be experienced so that they can properly assist the driver and children. Police verification of all drivers and conductors is absolutely essential for the safety of children.
With a rise in unpleasant incidents, such measures should be of prime importance for the school authorities and parents. Also, bus cameras or CCTV cameras should be accessed only by the school team and not bus vendors so that surveillance is maintained at all times. The school must have a proper resting place for the drivers so that they can drive in a relaxed way.
Even the Supreme Court has issued guidelines for school buses. Some of the important considerations are:
* "SCHOOL BUS" tags must be clearly and prominently mentioned on the back and front of the buses
* The bus must have a medical first aid box and a fire extinguisher
* The speed of the bus is also important -- it should not exceed 50 kmph
* The windows in the bus should be fitted with horizontal grills for the safety of the children
* The driver and conductor should wear proper uniforms for their better identification
* All vehicles should have a valid annual fitness certificate
* The name of the school and contact details must be written on the bus
* The bus doors should be fitted with reliable locks
Transportation security is a prime concern for school authorities as well as parents. To deal with violent cases effectively, the best solution is a real-time bus tracking system inside the vehicle. This would notify authorities about the location of the bus, creating a transparent communication channel between the parent and school.
(Christopher Hanvey is GM, Genesis Global School, Noida. The views expressed are personal)

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