Molestation case: School bus has no female attendants

Apr 08, 2014, 07:16 IST | Niranjan Medhekar

It was found that the school bus flouted safety norms; police verification of drivers and attendants of buses also not done

The molestation case of the junior KG student on Friday has raised several ugly questions and parents of the children enrolled in the Karve Nagar School are now demanding answers. After the heinous crime was reported, it was learnt that the school has been flouting all the safety norms set by the government to ensure that the safety of the children.

One of the main rules stipulated by the government was if the bus ferries female students,  it is compulsory to have a female attendant. However, in this case, the bus has only one attendant — a male, and that too the same one responsible for the molestation.

When asked why there wasn’t a female attendant in the bus, school director Maruti Navle said, “From the new academic year, we will be having a female attendant in every school bus. I already discussed this issue with my staff last week.”
When further asked if that meant, that the school was flouting the basic rule, he replied, “In the past 15 years, not a single untoward incident has taken place.”

The education institution has four schools in and around the city and has 300 school buses to pick up and drop the students. The director further added that even though they had full-time drivers and attendants for the buses, police verification had not been carried out for even one of them.

Priya Kothadiya, a parent said, “After the girl’s parents approached the principal and complained against the attendant, the principal tried to play down the case, saying she knew the attendant and it was impossible for him to have acted like that with the students. She also said that as it was a matter of the attendants’ future and she would first cross-check with him.”

Another parent Sujit Kale said, “When it comes to school bus safety, the school is lagging behind. Besides having a female attendant, every bus should be equipped with CCTV cameras. In the absence of female attendants, the school has to ensure that a teacher accompanies the students. As there is no communication between the school and parents, such requirements are also ignored.”

Safety checklist

>> Buses should be yellow
>> A list of children’s names and classes must be displayed in the vehicle
>> At least one female attendant should be present if female students use the bus facility
>> Steps on the footboard shouldn’t be more than 300 mm apart
>> There should be cross-view mirror on both sides
>> There should be a large parabolic rearview mirror inside
>> Hand rails
>> First-aid box, fire extinguishers
>> Driver must have five years of experience and a badge number
>> Speed governor should be set to 40 kmph
>> Vehicles must not exceed seating capacity, that is, the buses should not be overcrowded

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