<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A dark cloud hangs over the children of Bengaluru as far as going to school is concerned. Callous school staff, seemingly uncaring of CCTV cameras or teachers, continue to rape children, some even as young as three. Angry parents have protested time and time again, but to no avail. Today, sending a child to school is a terror for families in the IT city.It’s not just worries of rape and molestation. Cases of errant school drivers — many of whom report drunk for duty — are leading parents to panic. Local police sources reveal that over 65 school bus drivers so far have been booked for drunk driving this year. And at least 10 cases of drunken driving by school bus drivers was reported in August and early September.Not surprisingly, such drivers have been involved in a series of accidents which have left students injured. This has ensured that a special drive has been put in place by cops, who are randomly checking drivers for alcohol.Why is this happening? Police sources explain that school drivers drink heavily at night and then head straight for duty in the morning — drunk. This menace is increasing month by month and worried cops say they are doing all they can to take action.”We have alerted the respective school managements and have also shot off a circular to schools, asking them to keep alcometers in place and check drivers during school hours.” Cops have also told school authorities to keep an eye on the number of vans, autos and other private vehicles that ferry the students.Schools though seemed to have adopted a wait and watch policy as far as the issue is concerned. When contacted, Karnataka Unaided Schools Management Association (KUSMA) — an institute which claims to represent over 3,500 schools, said that they had still had to take any decision. KUSMA’s general Secretary, A Marriyappa told dna that an executive body meeting was scheduled to be held on Thursday over the issue.When contacted, other schools were not willing to come on record on the matter. But what was worse was that they refused to acknowledge responsibility for checking drivers, some of whom were part of school staff.”We cannot be responsible for checking on every driver,” said one principal. Other principals went even further. “The onus is on the Regional Transport Authority to educate drivers and make them leave alcohol. That is not our job,” opined another.The lack of action by schools and other authorities have left parents angry, confused and worried. Shashank Gowda, an engineer, summed up the feelings of many parents, when he said, “We shell out thousands of rupees each month for transport facilities for our children. Why can’t the schools assure their safety? The state government too needs to step in and make the law more stringent so we can finally feel safe in sending our children to school.”Bengaluru’s School Kids: In Great DangerOctober 3: Bengaluru police booked 12 drivers for driving under the influence of alcohol.September 25: Two school students and the driver injured in Chikkajala area of North Bengaluru after the school bus collided with the compound wall of Delhi Public School.September 2016: Police seized a private school van ferrying six students in the Nagarbhavi residential area of West Bengaluru. The driver was drunk.January 2015: A Class II girl student was allegedly molested by her school physical education teacher.October 2014: An eight-year-old girl was sexually assaulted by her 63- year-old teacher.July 2014: A nursery student of Vibgyor High School was raped by two staff members.
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