Basic student safety protocols, especially those pertaining to female students, are not being followed by teachers and principals in schools run by Delhi’s east civic body. A preliminary enquiry initiated by the East Municipal Corporation of Delhi (EDMC) into the rape of a 10-year-old girl student in its GT Road, Shahdara, school revealed this on Sunday.
A senior official at the EDMC, who did not wish to be named, said, “After interviewing several persons concerned, we concluded that the incident took place somewhere between 1.30pm and 2pm on Tuesday. This is after the general shift had got over and all the children had left.
“Somehow, no one from her family came to pick up the girl. Her teacher waited for a while and then asked a caretaker to look after the girl. The caretaker, in turn, handed her over to a sanitation staff member, suspect Swaraj Singh, and left. The school principal said he wasn’t aware of any child left behind and left,” the senior official said.
Bipin Bihari Singh, EDMC mayor, said, “We have set up an inquiry and will take strict action against those found negligent, including the principal.”
Security of students in municipal schools has emerged as a big concern.
Hindustan Times had highlighted the issue of lack of security guards in these schools on February 6. With this incident, officials said that there is a need to address the security issue.
As per EDMC records, out of the 230 schools run by the EDMC, only 15 have closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras.
“We are also looking at ways to install more CCTVs despite a paucity of funds,” Singh said.
“The security of about 1.8 lakh students –from standard one to five – is always in danger,” Ramnivas Solanki, general secretary of the MCD teachers’ association, said.
When contacted, EDMC commissioner Dilraj Kaur said, “We understand that we must beef up security at our schools and we are working on it.”
According to the standard protocol, an official said, every class teacher is responsible for his/her students from the time he/she receives them till the time they are taken back by a guardian.
Besides, the principal is supposed to leave school only after inspecting each and every classroom, toilet and playgrounds, making sure they are empty, and locking them in a secure fashion, the official added.