Most Turkish families worried about security when their children go to school
ISTANBULSome 64 percent of parents in Turkey are worried about the security of their children as they go to school, Bahçeşehir University academic Professor Osman Öztürk has stated, commenting on the results of a recent study.
“What’s more, 73 percent of parents are worried about the time when their children are at school,” Öztürk told daily Birgün.
The interview was published days after a three-year-old boy, Alperen Sakin, died inside a kindergarten shuttle minibus on Aug. 18, hours after he was forgotten and locked in the vehicle.
After the tragic incident the kindergarten was closed and the owner of the school was arrested on charges of manslaughter.
Öztürk said the vehicle in the incident in İzmir did not fulfill necessary safety requirements from a school shuttle and the driver did not even have the correct license.
“The school principal is also at fault, while the authorities did not provide any training or inspect the school either. There was a communication problem between the families and the school,” he added.
Most minibuses shuttling children to and from school do not comply with standards determined by the Education Ministry and most of the drivers are not trained well, Öztürk also stated.
“We are talking about a chain that covers everything including the safety of shuttles, the physical and architectural structure of school buildings, the hygienic conditions at canteens, food safety, emergency management, and even security standards for visitors,” he said.
‘Bullying widespread at schools’
Öztürk also referred to research carried out recently by the Education Ministry, which found that there we no security guards at 61 percent of Turkey’s schools and that violence and bullying is widespread.
“Students’ feedback shows that there is physical and verbal violence at 74 percent of [Turkish] schools. Bad, humiliating, threatening messages that children send to each other on the internet, as well as pornographic postings, also trigger violence. The lack of education on values inside families is one of the leading causes of violence. Another cause is the social and cultural environment in the school’s location, while a third cause is domestic violence,” he said.
Sales of illegal drugs at schools are also a major problem, Öztürk stated, adding that the problem has become more serious than the situation in many European countries.
Some 43,000 children, mostly students, faced legal action over drug use last year, he said.
“This is terrible for the future of our children. Police security around schools should urgently be supported by schools’ own security units and health units,” Öztürk added.