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Children’s Day: Are children safe in or outside the schools?

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Many recent shocking incidents across various schools of the country have raised the questions that are the kids really safe at school? Explaining about the to make children safe not only in school but outside the school as well Ramesh Iyer, Vice-Chairman, TOPSGRUP, writes for Elets News Network (ENN).

Ramesh IyerSafety in schools is not only necessary to enable children to grow and succeed in life, but also has long term repercussions on their mental and physical well-being, as it is where their very foundations are developed. A safe and nurturing school environment encourages a child to actively take part in school activities and develop a healthy interest and appreciation for learning. However, safety is not only a concern in the school premises, but also when it comes to picnics, excursions, and tuition classes with private teachers.

Without the protective confines of the school compound to ensure their safety, picnics and trips can often prove to be extremely dangerous for kids, if the proper measures aren’t taken both by parents, as well as school authorities and teachers. In 2014, the horrific drowning of 24 engineering students from Hyderabad in the Beas River while on an excursion to Manali made the headlines across the country, while the very next year, a 12-year-old boy drowned in an amusement park in Chennai called Queensland having gone there for a school picnic.

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In light of these incidents, safety as a preventive measure should be inculcated among students in case of any accident or catastrophe. Some of the basic things to keep in mind on the trip, should include staying calm case of any incident, and knowledge of how to administer basic first aid. At least one adult trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), first aid, handling of off-site bathroom breaks, and use of public transportation must also be present on the trip.

Children also need to be made aware of the kind of dangers that they might encounter, and taught to protect themselves in such situations. The potential for sexual violence and other dangers has been increasing rapidly in recent years, and often, come from the very people they are familiar with and who have been deemed trustworthy by parents as well as school authorities. Tuitions, for instance, are almost essential for students of today to be able to cope with the highly competitive educational system. However, measures must be put in place to ensure their safety at such classes, lest they come in contact with potentially dangerous individuals. Parents must make sure that the tutor teaching their ward has his credentials in order and has cleared appropriate background screening tests.

Children often fail to identify a dangerous situation or individual because of their relative inexperience, and thus, must be taught to identify them, and also equipped with tools such as a pepper spray at all times. Additionally, they should be acquainted with emergency helpline numbers so that they are aware of whom to call for assistance when in danger.

In order to ensure that our children learn and grow in a healthy, positive environment, it is up to us as parents to come together with schools and tuition centres to work together to enforce zero tolerance policies and violence prevention programmes.

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