In the wake of the terrorist attack at an army-run school in Peshawar, Pakistan, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has directed all schools affiliated to it to follow standard operating procedures (SOP) for dealing with any terrorist attack.
A circular, which was issued by the board on December 19, states that the recent terrorist attack on a school in Pakistan is an eye opener for all of us to have effective mechanism to prevent such an incident in our institutions.
According to SOPs prepared by the union ministry of home affairs to prevent a terror strike, local administration, police and schools' staff have been asked to develop a comprehensive action plan to implement guidelines, which include allocating specific roles to different personnel and teachers as per the SOP, briefing the staff about the action to be taken by them in any emergency, taking preventive measures as given in the guidelines in consultation with the local police, keeping the security personnel of the school on alert, communicating clear guidelines to parents about what they should and should not do in case of any news of such incidents and conducting advance reconnaissance of the school with the help of the local police.
Schools have also been asked to carry out mock drills of the SOPs. The objective of the circular is purely educative in nature so as to alert the school administration and prepare it for any eventuality. School principals have been requested to ensure that the information is disseminated discreetly without creating any sense of panic.
According to the guidelines, a suitable electric bell needs to be installed connecting all gates to a nodal point in schools. 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 emergency drill in the school and inform the police.
Each school should have concrete boundary wall with three to four gates and each gate should be manned by at least three guards round-the-clock
Details of telephone number of the police control room and local police station should be maintained and updated regularly and should be displayed at prominent places. 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 to inform the nodal officer or the principal.
There should be proper illumination along the perimeter so that nobody can jump over the wall into the school in the 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 the wall.
Installation of CCTVs all along the boundary as well as some additional locations inside the premises to monitor the movement of any suspicious person
Walkie Talkie sets for communication between security guards and nodal security officer be arranged, intercom between main gate and other perimeter gates to the nodal security officer and the principal of the school may be provided for efficient communication.