Chennai cops want background checks on school bus drivers

The city police have asked schools to run a background check on owners and drivers of private vehicles, including school vans and auto-rickshaws, in which children travel to and from school. Days after the abduction of an LKG student from Chettinad Vidyashram, police asked schools to hold meetings with members of parent-teacher associations and ensure that van owners and drivers engaged for dropping and picking up children are carefully chosen. “Their antecedents have to be verified to ensure they are reliable,” a release from the police commissioner’s office said, spelling out security arrangements in schools.

Police asked schools to streamline the security system on campus to ensure “proper access control”, allowing only “authorised persons” to enter the premises. Schools should come up with a system of receiving and sending off children before and after school. They should nominate teachers to verify the identity of individuals picking up and dropping off students. At a meeting, police officers asked schools to install CCTV cameras covering the gate and the place where children are received by teachers and picked up after school. Institutions were asked to contact the nearest police station for help in picking appropriate locations to install cameras for optimal coverage.

On registering and monitoring drivers, however, schools said total adherence is difficult as some drivers drop children outside the school and some private vans keep changing drivers. “It’s important to do a background check on owners and drivers, but it’s only possible to some extent by schools. We can’t have 100% control on who picks up or drops children off,” said Ganga Natarajan, supervisor in-charge of DAV Public School. She said that the school was in the process of collecting these details.

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