A week after Sunday MiD DAY reported how some city schools had cited Regional Transport Office (RTO) rules to refuse parent volunteers on school buses (even after RTO authorities had denied the existence of such a rule), the parents of at least one city school have managed a breakthrough.
The Utpal Sanghvi School at Vile Parle has allowed parents to take turns and travel in school buses to ensure the safety of their children.
While most schools are yet to decide whether to allow parents to travel in school buses, parents at Utpal Sanghvi School have already formed a team of volunteers who will travel in the buses by turn. The school has also decided to train students about emergency evacuation in case the bus meets with an accident.
Rusit Patel, parent of a junior KG student and a member of the school’s Parent Teacher Association (PTA), said, “Around 100 parents from the SSC and IGCSE boards attended the meeting. We discussed how to enhance security in our school buses through various means and instill discipline among bus drivers, cleaners and attendants on board the buses. Thanks to the support we received from the principal, the sports teacher Umesh Shamraj and the management, we have been able to start travelling in school buses.”
Chhaya Dave, a parent and the school’s transport committee convener, said, “The meeting was fruitful and that’s how we formed a team where parents as well as teachers will work together for the safety of our children in the school bus.”
There are total 22 school buses in the school, plying kids aged between four and 16. Parents will travel in 19 of these buses, which ply nursery and pre-primary students.
Hemangi Doshi, another parent and chairperson of the PTA, said, “When our pilot project worked well, all parents started volunteering. The parents have to sign and give their names to coordinators and decide when they want to travel. Even some grandparents who are physically fit have come forward to help.”
When contacted, Abha Dharampal, principal of Utpal Sanghvi School, said, “We are glad parents are taking so much effort for the safety of students. We have coordinators who will manage parents’ traveling schedules. Moreover, we are starting awards for the best work done by school bus drivers, conductors, cleaners and lady attendants as incentives. We are also going to train students on evacuation from the bus during an emergency.”