Nagpur: Picture this. Early morning before most schools start, the school buses pick up the children from different pick-up points in the city. While there are different buses allocated different routes, each bus has a significant number of pick-up points from which the driver of the school bus has to pick up children.
As traffic during morning remains thin, the school bus drivers often jump signals and speed up their way to schools in order to make up the time. The children remain the mute spectator of this routine violation of traffic rules.
Nagpur Today ventured out to find out the cause for this bizarre behavior of the drivers.
A school bus driver who ferries children of a reputed school in city told Nagpur Today on condition of anonymity, that the principal of the school has directed the drivers to reach the school students on time.
If by any chance the children get delayed for some reason, the principal is apt to deduct the money due for that day. “You people notice only the driver breaking the traffic rules or violating traffic rules, but have you ever tried to find out the cause behind the drivers jumping signals or speeding between two pick-up points?”, he questioned.
Children turn up late!
The driver of another bus claimed that many children wake up late and after finishing their daily ablutions, reach the bus pick-up point late. “We have to wait till all the children from that spot are picked up. If we miss picking up even one child, the parent shouts at us and if we get the children late to the school, the principal and the school authorities shout at us and deduct our salary of that day. This is like getting caught between the well at one hand and the marshy valley on the other hand,” reacted the driver.
Will take action, if flaws detected, says Traffic DCP
While speaking to Nagpur Today, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Bharat Tangde said that there is a special committee for the school bus and other school related issues. The Commissioner of Police S P Yadav is the Chairman of the Committee. Based on certain observations, the school buses were fitted with speed governors. Nearly 211 vehicles were checked around 6 months ago and found to have the speed governors in place. He claimed that there are around 2000 school buses plying in the city. He also claimed that the traffic department does not approve any traffic violation. He said that if the traffic cops find any school bus violating traffic rules, they will certainly take suitable action.
Principals refute claims
Principal of Centre Point School, Sumathi Venugopalan opined that there is nothing wrong if students reach the school on exact time. The drivers should maintain some cautions, safety and security of the children, since the parents have entrusted the responsibility of the children in the care of the bus drivers.
However, the parents too should maintain some discipline in the house and should wake their children a few minutes before their usual time so that they can be ready properly and arrive at the pick-up point on time. The child learns discipline from his or her own home.
Students should instill a habit of waking up early morning. On the other hand, we as school authorities can’t condone negligent behavior of students to arrive late. Even in the school strict rules are imposed which has be adhered to by every student and we ensure that every student adheres to the rules.Apart from that, parents should be aware about the safety of their children under a particular driver.
The major reason that the school insists on every student to be present on time to the school, is not a single student should miss any activities underway in the school.
Safety is prime concern
Principal of another very reputed school in the city on condition of anonymity stated that she thinks there is no problem if any student reaches late to school because the children’s safety is more important than arriving to school on the time.
In fact, their school does not follow any such stringent rule which imposes constrains on children. However, she added that those children who come habitually late to school is not approved.
School bus drivers should have the directives of the school management which pertain to the safety and security of the students. She further said that she maintains a balanced opinion. She claimed that often we see the school buses stuck up in the traffic over which the driver has no control and then when the road clears up, he drives swiftly to reach the school in time.
This is not an approved behaviour since it instill wrong message in the minds of the children who will become the future citizens of our country.
… Samuel Gunashekran