With the increasing number of school bus accidents being reported in the city, bus safety norms have become a concern for schools, said principals. Several schools have started organising workshops, training their bus staff on soft skills and conducting regular meetings with parents to sensitise them on bus safety norms.
Until three months ago, primary students at Children’s Academy in Kandivli would just run to get a window seat in their school bus. But now, the bus conductor leads all the students from their respective classrooms to the door of the bus. “In all of this, we waste 15 minutes, but the child’s safety is the bigger concern for us,” said Rohit Bhatt, principal of the school.
The death of nine-year-old Viraj Parmar, who was killed after he stuck out his head of the bus window and got hit by a hoarding on November 23, 2011, prompted the school to tighten its bus safety norms.
At Podar Education Network, which runs 150 school buses, the school is conducting grooming lessons for the entire transport staff. Apart from this, the school has also come up with 25 nursery rhymes and safety norms for their pre-school children.
“It is not always the bus driver’s fault. Children and parents too need to be sensitised on the safety norms,” said Swati Popat Vats, director, Podar Education Network.
The school has become vigilant and has started conducting surprise checks on all its buses after a student of Podar International School, six-year-old Zara Sheikh, was run over by her school bus after she alighted it in February. The driver had allegedly been listening to music on headphones.
At Gundecha Academy in Kandivli, the school keeps a close watch on students who travel by the school buses.
“In every bus, we have two bus monitors who keep a tab on the children. Students who don’t follow the norms are punished,” said Seema Buch, principal, Gundecha Academy, adding that the school also conducts surprise checks on the bus staff.