‘All’ 4 the Love and Safety of ‘MCCS School Kids’
A Children’s Safety Awareness Programme was organised at Mount Carmel Central School, and it was ‘All’ for the Love and Safety of the School going children when they travel by Autos/vans/bus etc
Mangaluru: This is indeed a tough issue to deal with when it comes to the safe travel of children who either commute by autos, vans, bus or other mode of travel. The biggest problem is that there are more children and fewer vehicles to transport them – on the other hand, we also have less traffic police to keep an eye and nail those offenders who break the traffic rules and regulations. But all we can do is try our best through awareness programmes, seminars, talks, street plays etc and see that our city roads are safe, transport vehicles of school children are safe, drivers who escort the schoolchildren follow safety guidelines for the safety of children, drivers who accompany children are without any criminal background, drivers and parents follow the safety guidelines and so on.
It took the tragic and horrifying Trasi accident and the loss of eight innocent lives on June 21, for the Dakshina Kannada district administration to wake up and realise that safety measures are woefully short when it comes to vehicles transporting school children. As a part of safety measures, the district administration has come up with various safety measures to prevent any more such tragedies here in Mangaluru and elsewhere. And even the management and staff of Mount Carmel Central School-Mary Hill, Mangaluru thought of a unique awareness programme by inviting the auto/van/bus drivers and also the parents to join in the interaction as to how to deal with the safety of school children while they are on their way to school.
Welcoming all gathered, Principal Sr. Melissa AC of MCCS said, “Safety of the children is the prime cause to call for this meeting. It’s the joint responsibility of the school management, teachers, parents and the drivers to see that the students come to and go back from school safely. We need to strictly follow a few rules and regulations laid down by the R.T.O and education department and I kindly request you all to follow them up for the better safety of the kids. Parents also need to play an important role when they send their children to school by different kind of vehicles, and they should also be there when their children return back home in transport vehicles. If we all abide by the rules and regulations implemented by the RTO and Traffic police department then we can prevent any tragic incidents taking place”
Umesh Kumar, Sub-Inspector and M Nataraj-Police Inspector, both of Kavoor police station were the speakers of the day who briefed the drivers of the safety measures to be taken by them while bringing the children to the school and briefed also on the drug abuse by youth since today being World Anti-Drug day. Sr Carissima AC, the administrator of the school was also present on the dais.
Umesh Kumar addressing the gathering said, “As drivers, you should take care and treat these school children just like your own kids. Make sure you don’t overtake and over-speed when kids are on board; make sure safety of the children is your priority; follow the traffic rules and regulations, and also respect and obey the traffic cops; have a first aid kit in your vehicle ; parents should inspect vehicles transporting children on regular basis; check the background of the drivers who are taking your children to school; make sure drivers have their identity card, and also their vehicle painted yellow; school bags should not be hung outside the vehicle – have a reserved space under the seat; drivers must always wear uniforms”
Kumar further said, ” Driver must carry complete list of children being ferried, with name, class, school name, residential address, blood group, points of stoppage etc; driver should not use mobile while driving – if in case of emergency pull the vehicle to the side, stop and then communicate; windows should be fitted with horizontal grills; door of van/bus should be locked all the time, except while boarding and alighting; attendant should always be on the bus; drivers must have valid LMV-Transport Vehicle Licence for at least 4 years; driver should have restricted interaction with the children; picking and dropping of children should be done in a safe zone; and many other guidelines. RTO and police have been directed to take stringent action against vehicles that violate rules. DC has also issued orders to take action against those who break the laws”.
M Nataraj speaking of the guidelines for the safe transport of the school children, also spoke about drug abuse since today being World Anti-Drug Day. He said, “The Mangaluru police is keeping a close vigil on sale and consumption of narcotic drugs in the city. If any student is found consuming cannabis or any other narcotic drugs he or she will be booked under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act. There is an increase in drug consumption by youth in the city, and we catch many of them everyday in our police jurisdiction. We have been getting regular information on people consuming and supplying cannabis and other narcotic drugs in the city. If you come across anyone dealing or consuming drugs please inform the police. Your name will be kept confidential. Our main aim is to see that students should not fall prey to drugs that will affect their health and their academic career. Only with your cooperation we can fight the drug menace and make Mangaluru a drug-free city”.
Parents Neville Rodricks, who has a daughter studying at MCCS, and another parent Oliveira Rodricks, who has two of her children at MCCS, both speaking to Mangalorean.com said, “It is also the duty of the parents to take care and watch the movement of their children. Many a times parents when they come to pick and drop their children don’t bother to park their vehicles at a designated zone; Sending a child to school by bus can be nerve-wracking for parents. After all, they don’t know if their child boarded the bus/van, was safe on them and reached school, let alone if he/she found the right bus to come home on – so in this case parents should be alert and caring. When parents can spend money on other school expenses, why not spend a little more on the transport of their kids through the safe mode of transport, and not sending their kids to an over-packed vehicle. This is dangerous to the life of the kid. So it is advisable that parents also play an important role in the safe transport of the children, and not just blame the school management, teachers and drivers. As parents, we too can make a difference in the safe travel of school children”.
Having done attending the programme, while walking out of the school premises I was really surprised to see couple of Maruti Omni vans packed with 14/15 children, and a auto-rickshaw with seven children- when asked how come they are not following the guidelines issued by the RTO and other authorities, the answer from the drivers from all these vehicles was, “We can’t leave the children back here, after we had already brought them to school. We will follow the rules soon, but right now police should cooperate with us. We understand that children’s safety is our priority”. I hope these fellows will keep their promises by not overloading the children, keeping in mind their safety.