Indian Union Government issues advisory to schools on security

New Delhi,Manan Kumar: Not ready to take any chances on security front after the horrific attack on army school in Peshawar and the darkening terror shadow, the Centre has issued an extensive advisory to the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) asking it to disseminate it to all schools affiliated with it.

The advisory with guidelines explains the standard operating procedures (SOPs) that the local administration, police and schools’ staff need to follow to avoid a terror strike as well as what course of action needs to be taken in case of an eventuality. The schools have been asked to carry out mock drills of the SOPs.

Why has the government taken schools under threat perception?
The radicalisation by the IS that could lead to a plausible ‘lone wolf’ kind of an attack, the absconding SIMI cadres on the prowl and the recent attack on a well-guarded Army School in Peshawar have made the government wary not to take any chances. Security establishment thinks that the recent incidents of terror may embolden terrorists to carry out spectacular attacks.

Are there any particular schools under threat?
Not specifically, but prominent and high-profile schools could be more vulnerable as they would attract more international attention given the status of wards who study there. The local police have been asked to identify and make a list of high-profile schools. However, the government says the objective is purely educative in nature so as to alert the school administration and prepare it for any eventuality.

What measures schools have been asked to take?
Schools have been asked to have concrete boundary wall with proper illumination and concertina wiring fixed on the iron grill, with 3 to 4 gates max and each gate manned by at least 3 guards, on a 24- hour basis; measures to call local police within minutes; positioning of CCTV systems all along the boundary wall and vantage points, provision of Walkie-Talkie sets for guards and nodal security officer and centralized Public Announcement System between Nodal security officer and all classes/ library etc. A visual anti-sabotage check of the entire school should be carried out by the security staff of the school before the arrival of children. An alarm system to should be in place to alert the entire security staff, Principal, teachers and the students in case of any contingency.

What if a terror strike happens?
If armed terrorists manage to enter the school and hold up teachers/ students/ others as hostages, the following key actions should be taken by the school authorities:
Inform the Police, all children and teachers stay back in their respective places, those outside to rush to the nearest rooms, and not to indulge into any rash act in panic like running out towards door to escape etc. They should close the doors from inside and lie low in the classroom to escape random firing.
Try to send children safely out without panic if a safe passage is possible and the location of terrorists is known. Don’t ask children to collect in any open ground as they can become easy targets.
In case of doubt make no movement and wait for the police to arrive, contain the situation, staff should surround the terrorist and provide a secured passage for the children to move out from their respective places to outside the school.