Many school bus drivers drive dangerously, disregarding rules and safety guidelines. It may not always be possible for parents to accompany their child to school everyday – parents may have their own limitations. But I do not believe there is any valid reason for parents not putting their foot down against such risky transport options.
Do these bus drivers even realise that they are putting the lives of these children in danger by jumping the median? Another big question is: Do the parents know this? The problem stems from the fact that we are apathetic to pretty much everything.
After all, these transport options exist, only because the parents utilise them. When we call the waiter and demand a replacement of a dish that we ordered, because we found a strand of hair in it, why can we not make similar demands here.
Isn’t the safety of our children more important than a strand of hair? Why do we allow ourselves to be taken for a ride, literally? Change has to come from within. I hope parents wake up and do something. How many of you are aware of the Supreme Court guidelines on school buses?
- ‘School Bus’ must be prominently written/displayed on the front and back of every vehicle carrying school children.
- If the vehicle is a hired bus, ‘On school duty’ should be prominently displayed.
- No bus belonging to an educational institution should carry children in excess of its permitted seating capacity.
- School bus must have a first aid box.
- Windows of the school bus must be fitted with horizontal grills/bars.
- Every school bus needs to be equipped with fire extinguisher.
- Every driver of a school bus must have a minimum of five years of experience in driving heavy vehicles and must not have any previous record of traffic offences.
- In addition to driver, there must be a qualified person in every school bus as provided in Rule 17 of Motor Vehicles Rules.
- There should be an escort from the school, preferably a teacher, in the bus to ensure safety.
I am sure we do not want more incidents like what happened with Abhilash, a 13-year-old schoolboy, who was killed when his school bus rammed a tree and rolled on its side down the road near Attibele on Karnataka-Tamil Nadu border in December 2010 or with B Kishore Kumar, a student of a government school, who was killed when a vehicle mowed him down on Hosur Road when he was returning home from school on January 28, 2011.
Let us stop thinking ‘It will not happen to us’ and start thinking ‘We will not allow anything like this to happen to our children’ ⊕
As a school bus safety expert in India, I can tell you that most parents (more than 60%) don’t really care about school bus & child safety.
I’ve spoken to dozens of parents who, when dropping their children off on 2 wheelers, drive maniacally and stupidly on Bangalore’s roads, and don’t think that its a risk to their children. Worse, their children are learning about unsafe driving practices from their parents.
I’ve spoken to over 200 schools, many in Bangalore, and I know that a majority of principals DO care, but simply don’t have the time, bandwidth & funds to implement good school bus safety. Several drivers too have their constraints (though I’d say that more than 50% are callous, murderous drivers), and the challenge is to get all the stakeholders – parents, principals, drivers and transport owners – to agree that child safety is critically important.
There is no U turn in the point of view. What I have posted as comments was part of the original article posted, but was not published. That is what I meant by lost to editing. Yes I am quite aware of what is happening in the schools. Not getting married or not having children, just to avoid facing such situations is defeatist.
Where there is a will there is a way. I have been there and done that.
I am amazed and pained at the U turn of the author of the article with a different view altogether. No editing is required. The matter is different between the article and the comments by the author himself. Since parents are the cause of their own actions, it is better nobody gets married, nobody get children, no schooling and so no problems. I had written to the School Principal about the bus and I have not got any responsible reply as to how the children are protected when using the transport. In some schools the children are taken to task if the parent goes with any complaint. So no parent comes forward even to make a representation which is taken as a complaint against the school. Is the author aware of happenings in any school ? In our country , can we still expect responsibility even after pointing out the problem ? Let us be practical. If we parents can do everything for our children , why we need schools at all ?
My view was actually a bit different and seems to have been lost to editing. The main point I was trying to highlight is:
I would like each parent reading this article to ask themselves these questions:
Who decides where the family lives? – Parents.
Who decides which school the child will go to? – Parents.
Who decides how the child will commute? – Parents.
Who is to blame if something goes wrong – Police and School Management?
Something doesn’t sound quite right, does it?
If parents cannot ensure safety of their own children and expect the Schools / Police totake ownership, I believe it is not fair. If a parent has ensured that the school bus is safe when the child was first admitted to the school, then isn’t it also the parent’s responsibility to ensure that the status quo does not change? Isn’t it also the parent’s responsibilty to raise the issue with the School Management, should the status quo change? I am not even mentioning those parent that allow their children to commute in private autos / omnis packed like sardines.
The same views have been expressed in Bangalore Mirror dated 20 June 2012.
Hope the parents’ worries have due consideration from the Principals of the schools and effective action taken immediately about the condition of their own buses and the chartered / hired buses from BMTC which are in dilapidated condition.