Dormant School Protection Groups draw ire of juvenile justice committee

Photo for representation

Photo for representation   | Photo Credit: N. Sridharan

DLSA to hold awareness programmes on running School Protection Groups

In a damning indictment, a recent meeting of the District Juvenile Justice Committee, headed by the district judge, has observed that School Protection Groups (SPGs) have either not been created or are mostly dysfunctional across the district.

The then State Police Chief had issued a circular directing the constitution of SPGs to safeguard students from the nefarious designs of criminal elements in 2011.

The committee entrusted the District Legal Services Authority (DLSA) to conduct awareness programme for school heads, counsellors and other stakeholders for running SPGs in all schools.

“The committee has decided to issue a letter to the District Deputy Director of Education asking [the official] to take measures to strengthen the functioning of SPGs in schools,” District Child Protection Officer K.B. Zaina told The Hindu.

Draft guidelines

The committee also laid down draft guidelines for the constitution of SPGs as per which the group should be chaired by the head of the institution. The core group shall include police Station House Officer of the area, a representative of the Excise Department, two representatives each of teachers, parents and students, and the local body representative.

The extended group may include, a merchant of the locality, an autorickshaw driver and a representative of Jagratha Samithi/Student Police Cadets/ National Service Scheme and National Cadets Corps. “Initially, the group did not feature excise official and people’s representative, which was an anomaly, which we have pointed out to the government,” said Ms. Zaina.

SPGs are expected to gather information regarding availability of drugs and narcotic substances, pornographic material, tobacco products and alcoholic beverages near school premises, loitering of students during school hours, persons befriending students with ulterior motives, and issues faced by children.

Core group meeting

The core group must meet and discuss all cases as soon as it is brought to the attention of SPGs while the extended group must meet at least once a month to gather information. SPGs must organise separate orientation sessions for students, teachers and parents, for which resource persons could be provided by DLSA, police or excise.

SPGs must prepare and send report of all meetings and action taken once every three months along with list of all members to the District Juvenile Justice Committee. The group has to maintain complete confidentiality and issues must be reported to the chairperson who can forward it to the Juvenile Justice Committee.

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Printable version | Jun 6, 2020 8:05:46 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/dormant-spgs-draw-ire-of-juvenile-justice-committee/article29684549.ece

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