Senior officials of the School Education Department on Wednesday emphasised that safety of schoolchildren is a top priority for the Government.

All schools must ensure that drivers of vehicles carrying schoolchildren do not use mobile phones while driving.

Clear instructions on children’s safety were given to the Headmasters, Principals and correspondents of all nursery/primary schools in Madurai district during a meeting convened by the department.

K. Rajani Rathnamala, Chief Educational Officer, instructed schools to tell their drivers to switch off their mobile phones while driving and also closely monitor if they were violating the rules.

“Parents are anxious about the safety of their children. There should not be any tragic incidents/accidents involving schoolchildren,” she said.

The CEO directed the heads of schools to employ drivers who had appropriate driving license and also exercise caution while taking vehicles on rent for school purposes.

She told the heads to hold regular meetings with parents and find out if they had any grievances on safety aspects.

N. Ammayappan, District Elementary Education Officer, said that students’ safety was important because if anything happened to a child, the family would be shattered.

Nagapattinam tragedy

“The drivers of school vans and autos carrying schoolchildren must be disciplined. Accidents like what happened in Nagapattinam district recently must be avoided,” he said.

Several schoolchildren were killed on December 3 when a school van fell into a pond near Vedaranyam in Nagapattinam district.

The driver had been suspected of talking over cell phone when the accident occurred.

Mr. Ammayappan appealed to the schools to ensure that 2010-11 was a safe year in the district and children did not meet with any accident.

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