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HC asks Delhi govt about steps taken to implement its circular on school safety

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Press Trust of India New Delhi
The Delhi High Court on Tuesday asked the AAP government about the steps taken by it to ensure implementation of its circular on ensuring safety of children in all the schools in the national capital.
A bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice V K Rao directed the Directorate of Education (DoE) of the Delhi government to state in an affidavit the standard operating procedures laid down or instructions issued to implement the circular issued on August 11, 2018 and listed the matter for further hearing on January 24 next year.
The August 11 circular issued by DoE said that despite court orders and directions of DoE to the schools to carry out "self inspection" of the infrastructure and submit quarterly safety reports, there has only been "half-hearted compliance".
It also said that such "half hearted approach" would not work if the schools were serious about providing foolproof safety and security to the students.
The circular had suggested setting up of a school safety committee, holding monthly safety walks and submitting online safety reports to DoE and had warned of severe action, including withdrawal of recognition, against aided and recognised schools for repeated violation of the guidelines.
It had also warned of disciplinary action against the heads of the government-run schools for failure to follow the guidelines laid down in the circular.
The non-compliance of the circular was raised before the bench by advocate Ashok Aggarwal, who has been appointed as amicus curiae by the court to inspect schools in the national capital and ascertain how safe and secure they are for the children studying there.
Aggarwal was appointed as amicus in a PIL initiated by the court on its own after receiving a letter written by an advocate seeking improvement of the conditions in schools here.
Delhi resident Dishant Sharma had written a letter to the High Court seeking framing of guidelines to make schools accountable for children's safety.
He has also sought police verification of the support staff in the schools, counselling of all staff, installation of CCTV cameras on school premises, separate washrooms for students and no direct access of support staff in the premises.
In his report submitted before the court, Aggarwal has said that he visited six schools in the national capital and found that they were overcrowded, lacked proper infrastructure, were not completely disabled friendly, toilets were in bad shape and drinking water was not properly available.
Apart from that the two complaint boxes set up inside the schools to be checked by the police and the school, were never ever opened, he said in his report.

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First Published: Oct 30 2018 | 6:55 PM IST

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