In the wake of the recent terror attack at a school in Peshawar, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) on December 19 issued a standard operating procedure (SOP) for schools.
The SOP, prepared by the ministry of home affairs, lays down the drill schools need to follow in case of an armed intrusion inside the school premises.
A copy of the SOP was uploaded on the CBSE website on Saturday, along with a letter asking schools to be alert in the wake of the massacre that killed 132 children in an army-run school in Peshawar on December 16.
“The recent terror attack was an eye-opener for all of us, pointing to the need for an effective mechanism to prevent such incidents in our institutions,” said Joseph Emmanuel, secretary, CBSE, in the letter.
“The ministry of home affairs has already advised that spectacular terrorist action may be undertaken with a view to gain widespread media and public attention in places with large footfall such as malls, multiplexes, hostels and schools, that are soft and most vulnerable targets for terrorist attacks,” the letter said.
School authorities have been asked to brief students, teachers and other staff members and conduct mock drills following the SOP, so everyone knows their role in case of an attack or hostage situation. “It is not binding on schools to conduct these activities, but they will be secure if they do,” said a senior CBSE official.
Some of the CBSE affiliated schools in the city expressed relief after receiving the SOP. “There is a need to create awareness among students,” said principal Avnita Bir, RN Podar School, Santacruz.
Others, however, said they do not want to discuss the SOP with their staff and students, as they do not wish to spread panic. “We already have an evacuation programme in the school and students are very clear about it,” said Girija Singh, principal, Navy Children’s School, Colaba. “We do not want to create panic among students, but rather build their confidence."