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Government To Hold A High Level Meeting Tomorrow On Safety And Protection Of Children In School

Taking a serious note of incidents of child abuse in schools, the Union Ministries of Women & Child Development and Human Resource Development will hold a high level meeting in New Delhi tomorrow to discuss the safety and protection of children in schools.

The objective of the meeting of the two ministries is to develop a set of guidelines and protocols which schools must follow so that the children remain protected from any kind of abuse or physical/ mental harm.

The Supreme Court will also take up a case of security in schools and is likely to issue guidelines. The Apex Court has already issued notices to the Centre, Haryana State, CBSE and NCERT in connection with the murder of a student in a renowned private school in Gurugram.  

The meeting will be co-chaired by the Minister of Women & Child Development, Maneka Sanjay Gandhi and Minister for Human Resource Development, Prakash Javdekar. Officials of the two ministries, National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, CBSE, NCERT, Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan will also participate in the meeting.

Ms Gandhi today spoke to Mr Javadekar requesting him to consider suggestions like having women employees as the support staff and bus drivers/conductors in the schools, screening of educational films on child sexual abuse in the schools, popularizing POCSO e-Box and Childline 1098 through NCERT publications and having strict norms for employing the support staff. She has also given these suggestions in writing to the HRD Minister.

The Ministry of Women and Child Development has already started its outreach campaign for protection of children through electronic as well as social media.

The WCD Minister further stated that the parents, guardians and teachers should remain vigilant about the children as well as their behavior and any suspected situation should be reported immediately on the Childline No.1098 and the POCSO e-Box.  

All this follows the killing of a 7-year-old Pradyuman in the toilet of Gurugram branch of Ryan International School last week. His case will be tried in a special POCSO court in Gurugram. Three persons have already been arrested in this connection – one for allegedly killing the student and two others from the management for negligence. The main accused, Ashok Kumar has reportedly tried to sexually assault the boy but was stabbed when he offered resistance.

A high-powered committee, instituted by the district administration, had found major lapses in the school security.

Meanwhile, a Mumbai court has stayed the arrest of the promoters of Ryan School until tomorrow when it hears their anticipatory bail application. A team of Haryana police is already in Mumbai where they are questioning the promoters of the school which has several branches in and outside India. 

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