Action comes in the wake of kidnap of LKG boy by van driver last week

Addressing heads of schools in the city on Monday, the city police called for heightened security measures to ensure the safety of students.

This comes in the wake of last week’s kidnap of an LKG student from a city school. The boy, who was rescued a few hours later, was allowed to go with a stranger who had gone to pick him up in the guise of a van driver. To prevent such incidents in the future, the police have asked schools to issue ID cards to those nominated to drop and pick up students.

Schools have also been asked to work closely with parent-teacher associations (PTAs) to ensure van owners and drivers are carefully chosen, and their antecedents verified.

On orders from commissioner of police, S. George, on Monday, the additional commissioner of police (south and east), Rajesh Das, additional commissioner (north and west), P. Thamaraikannan, and joint commissioner (east), K. Shankar, addressed about 200 school principals at a meeting.

Mr. Shankar said schools, parents or PTAs could approach the local police to verify records of van owners and drivers. Schools have also been asked to nominate a teacher to be in charge of sending and receiving students during school opening and closing hours.

Adequate number of CCTV cameras should be installed at the gate and other points where children are received and sent off.

Heads of schools who attended the meeting said they were also advised against having more than two entry-exit points.

School authorities said monitoring private vehicles, especially in the event of a change in the routine, was becoming increasingly challenging. The number of students opting for private transport too was on the rise, said Revathy Bonns, principal and correspondent, Madras Christian College Matriculation Higher Secondary School.

The headmistress of a government-aided school said, safety and security of students had become a hot topic of discussion at school meetings. Some schools — Everwin Matriculation, for instance — already have a system in place whereby parents are alerted by SMS if their wards do not turn up at school.

M.S. Jayasri, principal of Sir Sivaswmay Kalalaya Senior Secondary School, said a security system was important in the current context. “We are planning to install CCTV cameras in the foyer area where there is maximum movement of students,” she said.

It is not just private schools, but also those run by the Chennai Corporation that are opting for CCTVs. A senior Corporation official said they had already installed CCTV cameras in 16 higher secondary schools.

Some schools, however, said mobilising funds for the installation of cameras was a big challenge.

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