Turkish gov’t announces new measures for security on school buses
Four Turkish ministers held a press conference in the capital Ankara on Oct. 24, announcing new measures for security on school buses, in the wake of recent incidents that have raised concerns regarding children’s safety.
Among the new measures is the requirement for school bus drivers to attend training, after which they will obtain a special certificate from the Education Ministry. Additionally, people into whom an investigation has been launched will face an obstacle in becoming school bus drivers.
The Transportation Minister Ahmet Arslan said all of the school buses will be required to have seatbelts for students and they will be monitored through vehicle tracking systems. Additionally, all school bus drivers will be obliged to require a health report, making the process for becoming a bus driver more selective.
The Education Minister İsmet Yılmaz said during the meeting that their ministry would be responsible for the training of the personnel accompanying the kids to and from schools. “It is not sufficient for the education in schools to be good quality. It is a must for students to be transported in good conditions. It is essential that all the personnel are in harmony and the bus inspection is undertaken without any problems to ensure a healthy, safe and quality service level,” Yılmaz said. Additionally, the school counselors will wear high visibility jackets while on duty on the buses. They have also been given the authority to take minutes on the bus while on duty.
Afterwards, the Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu took the floor, indicating that what mattered was not in fact to bring new measures on the paper, but instead their “implementation.”
“Whether the vehicles carrying our children to schools do not abide by the principles we designate is something that would come up with our inspections, meaning inspections are very important… The inspections [on the school buses] will continue, yesterday [on Oct. 22] our police forces conducted inspections around 32,438 schools [across Turkey]. This was the fifth implementation, and we will continue with these checks,” he said.
“For mothers and fathers who send their children to schools to be at peace and for kids to come home safely is what constitutes the basis of this meeting. We are here as your four ministers for our children’s safety. We have shared with you the result of work that has been undertaken for a long time now,” said Family and Social Policies Minister Fatma Betül Sayan Kaya, who was the next minister to take the stage.
“The safety of children aged 0-3 is also guaranteed. The oversight of the kindergartens belong to the Family and Social Policies Ministry,” she said further.
The authorities have decided on school shuttle regulations to be revised following a series of incidents, especially a recent fatal clash between shuttles of separate companies in the premises of a primary school in Istanbul’s Ümraniye district.
On Sept. 5, personnel of the two shuttle companies arrived at the Fatih Primary School in Istanbul’s Ümraniye district to register students with their own companies. But an argument that erupted between them mounted into physical violence and the firing of guns.
The clash, in which one was killed and two were injured, took place in front of school personnel, students and parents at the start of the school year.
In another incident, a three-year-old toddler died inside a school shuttle in August in the western province of İzmir after being forgotten inside.
The death of Alperen Sakin triggered anger among society, with many parents questioning the safety of their kids on their rides to and from school and asking authorities to take measures regarding the issue.