Private schools asked to implement SC guidelines on safety of school buses

Private schools asked to implement SC guidelines on safety of school buses

SRINAGAR: Three days after a deadly road accident in South Kashmir’s Shopian district killed 11 students from Poonch district, the Directorate of School Education Kashmir (DSEK) has asked private schools in the valley to implement the Supreme Court guidelines on the safety of school buses carrying students to avoid any untoward incident.
In a circular issued on Monday, the DSEK has said that in view of the accident, it had become imperative that safety measures prescribed under norms were implemented by private schools in the valley.
The DSEK has asked private schools to implement school bus safety norms laid down by the Supreme Court of India “in letter and spirit”.
Pertinent to mention here, the apex court had in 1997 issued a set of guidelines regarding the safety of school buses while ferrying school children.
As per the SC guidelines, a school bus is supposed to carry a first aid box for any eventuality.
There should be a fire extinguisher inside the bus, the guidelines said.
The bus driver, as per the guidelines, should have at least five years of experience driving heavy vehicles.
A school cannot employ a driver who has been challaned more than twice in a year for offences including red light jumping and violation of lane driving.
“A driver who has been challaned even once for the offence of over speeding, drunken driving and dangerous driving etc cannot be employed,” read the SC guidelines.
“No vehicle shall carry children in excess of its permitted seating capacity. No child should be allowed to sit in the lap of others,” they add.
Besides the implementation of the Supreme Court norms on the safety of school buses, this week’s circular by the DSEK has asked private schools to “develop their capacities and preparedness to handle unforeseen situations and circumstances”.
It has also asked the institutions to ensure installation of fire extinguishing equipment within a period of 15 days.
Besides asking them to periodically carry out a yearly evaluation of the structural aspect of their school buildings, the schools have also been asked to ensure that the buildings are free of inflammable and toxic materials and also to store such stuff safely.