Some turned up late at school while others walked home
A few students from city schools missed their examinations or turned up late on Wednesday as ticket-checking staff from the Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation (TNSTC) and City Traffic Police offloaded at least 13 students from seven different schools in places such as Singanallur, Ramanathapuram, Sungam, Peelamedu and other areas.
As the students did not have the money to catch an auto rickshaw, they were unable to reach their schools on time to take the examination.
While safety is the primary concern for all stake holders, some have questioned the wisdom of leaving the school students, many of whom do not carry much cash, stranded on the side of the road.
Some students chose to turn up at the school late for the examination while the others had to walk back to their houses.
A school principal said that nobody was opposing the drive that was aimed at ensuring safety and averting untoward incidents but enforcing agencies need to ensure that it never ended in overdoing the drive and resulting in students missing crucial examinations.
C.M.S. Higher Secondary School Secretary T.A. Venugopal is of the opinion that educating the stake holders would achieve more positive results on an issue that has been going on for over 40 years. This was preferable to over-zealous enforcement of the rules.
Making doors mandatory for all buses, providing incentives for schools to expand their fleet – which would avoid the need for students to take other buses – and providing adequate time for schools to implement the new norms would also be steps in the right direction.
The other popular opinion among the institutions was that the administration should come forward to operate additional services during school opening and dispersal hours.
“The State Government should ensure that the norms are strictly enforced and also consult stake holders like parents, teachers and Principals on these issues,” he added.
Running buses exclusively for students wearing school uniforms, K. Sathianarayanan, Headmaster and Secretary of Mani Higher Secondary School said, would solve a lot of problems.
Instead of asking the students to apply for free bus passes, which involve cumbersome procedures, he said that all bus conductors should be told to allow students wearing school uniforms to travel after verifying only their school identity cards.
Such a system had already been adopted by the neighbouring states of Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, he added.
Seetha Poovaiah, Principal of G.R.N. Matriculation Higher Secondary School, called for reviving an earlier system of differing timings for schools and colleges to avoid congestion during peak hours.
He said that in addition to running more buses on routes where schools are located, drivers must also be told to avoid rash driving.
D. Prema, Chief Executive Officer of Gopal Naidu School, said that conductors must be told to be careful with school children and prevent overloading. Parents must also be educated on this subject.
“In our school, we have given clear instructions to students. It is okay to be late for school but the safety of the student is the paramount concern for everyone,” she said.