Schools should ensure that they make alternative arrangements in case the woman attendant required to be on the school bus is not present on a certain day, the School Bus Owners’ Association (SBOA) has said. It has asked all its contractors to convey this message to schools.
The SBOA members met several school principals on Monday, asking them to make effort and take responsibility in following the safety measures. The Association said that whether the responsibility of the woman attendant is with the school or the contractor depends on the contract.
The instruction follows the alleged molestation of a four-year-old nursery student from a reputable school in Juhu by a bus cleaner last week.
Bus contractors have suggested that if schools cannot send another woman staff member with the students when the bus is to drop them home, they should keep the students in the school premises and ask their parents to pick them up.
“We are asking principals to take responsibility, depending on the situation,” said Anil Garg, president of the SBOA.
The SBOA plies around 9,500 school buses daily.
In the meantime, the Juhu school has started working out terms to terminate or re-evaluate the existing school bus contract.
While it has been decided that the school’s women staffers will accompany pre-primary students in the bus, some parents have also offered to do bus duty, said a school spokesperson. The school will also continue with its ‘good touch-bad touch’ talks to students and self-defence training, and the data of all outsourced bus personnel will be verified once again.
The contractor who plies the buses for the school said he could not comment on the incident.