Taking a cue from the terror attack in the Peshawar army school in Pakistan, the ministry of human resource development, Government of India has come up with several strictures in a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), to ensure safety of school students.The SOP underlines a number of preventive measures that state that each school should have a concrete boundary wall, with 3 to 4 gates and each gate should be manned by at least 3 guards, on a 24-hour basis.
Details of telephone number of the police control room and local police station should be maintained and updated regularly by the school authorities. These details should be displayed at prominent places so that in a crisis, the principal, teachers, students, staff, security guards or any one from the school may contact the police.
A nodal officer may be nominated to look after security arrangement in the school. A telephone connection should be provided at the main gate of the school so that the guards can inform the police in case of any emergency, without waiting for the nodal officer or the principal.
There should be proper illumination along the periphery so that nobody can jump over the wall into the school at night for any nefarious activity. Concertina wire may be fixed on the iron grills above the boundary wall to deter any one from jumping over. Installation of CCTV systems all along the boundary as well as some additional locations inside the premises is also a must to monitor the movement of any suspicious person, with recording facilities for at least the past three days.
The system should also have requisite video analytics to detect any intrusion and raise an audio as well as visual alarm. CCTV system alarm may also be connected to the identified gates to close them automatically. Walkie-talkie sets for communication between security guards and nodal security officer should be arranged and intercom between main gate/ other gates to the nodal security officer and the principal may be provided for efficient communication.
There should be a centralised public announcement system between nodal officer and all classes/ library by which instructions can be given to the students/ staff in each room, collectively or individually or in selected combination. The security staff should carry out a visual anti-sabotage check of the entire school before the children start arriving in the morning.
They should also check the footpath in front of the school, all along the boundary wall, including the parking area, to detect any suspicious objects lying unattended there. There should be an alarm system too to alert the security staff, principal, teachers and students in any emergency.
A suitable electric bell should be installed connecting all the gates to a nodal point in the school. The alarm system should also have a display panel to indicate the location from which the alarm has been raised.
The alarm can be manually pressed by the guards or get activated automatically if any vehicle crashes into the gate. The nodal officer should immediately verify the reason for raising the alarm, inform the principal, take action to initiate the contingency drill in the school and inform the police.
The aim of the SOP is to lay down guidelines and procedure for preventing and dealing with extremist attack on schools. However, these are general guidelines. Every terrorist-related incident is different and action should be taken by all concerned keeping in mind the specifics of the general situation.