Against the background of shooting in Russia: How safe are Ukrainian schools?

Author : Polina Davydova

Source : 112 Ukraine

Recently, more and more reports of terrible attacks in schools have appeared on the pages of the media. So what is the security situation in Ukrainian educational institutions?
10:12, 21 September 2021

Open source

Yesterday morning, 18-year-old student Timur Bekmansurov started shooting at his university in Russian Perm. A freshman entered the campus in military uniform with a gun (presumably a 12-gauge Huglu, which he bought legally). He entered the eighth building of the university and killed eight people, at least 28 people were injured - both wounded and those who were injured jumping out of windows in the hope of escape. The attacker was detained, he tried to shoot back and was wounded in the stomach.

It turned out that the guards called emergency services, but no one picked up the phones there, they pressed three panic buttons: two at 11:31 am and one at 11:43 local time (09:31 and 09:43 Kyiv time).

This is the second such high-profile case in Russia after the mass shooting in Kazan in May, when 19-year-old Ilnaz Galyaviev killed nine people at school.

An unpleasant story also happened in a Ukrainian school - in Poltava on September 6, a 19-year-old girl brought a crossbow to the school and wounded the teacher by shooting her in the back, and the head teacher, who tried to stop her after the first shot.

The more such cases occur, the more acute the issue of safety in schools and universities becomes. Some steps have already been taken after the incident in Kazan - video cameras are being installed in schools, and in Kyiv they are planning to install metal detectors at the entrance. We figure out how safe it is for children in schools and universities, what changes have already been implemented, and where the school is guarded by cloakroom attendants.

Grandmother on watch VS Armed criminal

As the case of crossbow shooting in Poltava shows (the school had guards and cameras, parents paid for everything), during this time the situation in Ukrainian schools remained at the same level: the legal status of a private security guard is questionable, the issue of payment for protection by parents is also open. And the full-time watchmen are people of respectful age without special training.

The issue of protection is decided individually at the level of the leadership of educational institutions and parental committees. At the moment, the features of protection in Ukrainian schools are as follows:

  • The school administration and the teacher (the head of the school, deputy heads, teachers and persons responsible for organizing work on labor protection and life safety) are responsible for the life and health of children, and not a security guard.
  • The administration has no right to demand money from parents for private security.
  • In the state of each school, the position of a watchman (not a security guard) is already registered.

If a full-time watchman is not enough, parents can enter into an agreement with a security company. Parents' committees usually negotiate the contract, not schools (although the committee is not a legal entity). Educational institutions are not formally related to contracts, and the management allegedly has no right to conclude contracts with security firms.

    Often an agreement with a security company is concluded "for the protection of communal property."

    Here is another paradox - a security company has no right to conclude contracts with those who are not the owner of the premises.

school in Dnipro
Dnipropetrovsk Regional State Administration

    In case of danger, a private security guard presses the panic button and / or calls the police.

"The responsibility for the safety of children during the educational process rests entirely with the teachers and the school administration," explains the expert on child safety Olena Lizvinska.

“It is the school's management that is responsible for organizing the security of the educational institution. It is optimal that an agreement on the provision of services be signed between the security organization and the school or the local department of education. In the event of an emergency, then it will be difficult to find out who is responsible, "says Lizvinska.

Latest innovations in Ukrainian cities

In Poltava, after the incident with the shooting from the crossbow, the city council members instructed to calculate the amount for organizing professional security in schools and installing cameras. Oksana Tribrat, the head of the Poltava education department, said that only 14 educational institutions have cameras, 16 institutions are protected at the expense of parents, 10 institutions have an alarm button, in 43 institutions, protection is carried out by the method of school workers on duty, by the way. The MPs hope they will be able to allocate the necessary funds in December.

In Kyiv, all schools are equipped with panic buttons and video cameras. To increase the level of security, they plan to install metal detectors that will be integrated with the information systems United School and Safe City, said the member of the Kiev City Council Alla Shlapak.

"We need to increase funding for preventive work in cooperation with law enforcement agencies. As for metal detectors specifically, I think that in order for us to logically complete the consideration of this issue, we need to give a protocol instruction to the Department of Education - together with law enforcement agencies, consider what schools would we equip, "said Shlapak.

In Kharkiv, they plan to install video surveillance in all schools in the city and in 40% of kindergartens by the end of 2021. The security of all educational institutions is paid from the local budget.

In Mykolaiv, the Department of Education has re-announced a tender for the installation of CCTV cameras and WI-FI points in 12 schools and 16 kindergardens of the city.

In Uzhgorod, the school installed a "smart" frame-scanner and a video surveillance camera with a face recognition function. The equipment will recognize strangers, as well as send data about school attendance to the parents of students using a mobile application. The equipment is connected to the Safe Zakarpattya video surveillance system.

The Safe School project has been implemented in Dnipro, which includes complexes of turnstiles, video surveillance cameras and burglar alarms. So far, video surveillance is carried out only in the corridors and in the courtyards of schools. Parents can monitor the child's attendance at an educational institution in a convenient way through one of the messengers (Messenger, Telegram, Viber). They are notified of the arrival and departure of children from school via Viber or Telegram. The child enters, leans the ticket against the turnstile and goes on. Currently, parents receive a notification on the arrival of a child on their phone via bots in Viber or Telegram. It is the same procedure when a child leaves school. Cameras in schools are connected to the video surveillance system of the Situational Center of Dnipro.

school in Dnipro
Dnipropetrovsk Regional State Administration

In Lviv, the Municipal Varta guards are present in part of the schools, mainly those that are located in remote areas and do not have their own guards and cameras.

At the same time, there are 27 general education schools in Lutsk, none of them have watchmen. The functions of guards and watchmen are performed by night guards and cloakroom attendants, however, video surveillance cameras are installed in some schools. Professional security is still available only in two educational institutions of the regional center: in school No. 4 and No. 9. Parents pay for the work of security guards.

Other initiatives

A juvenile policeman is assigned to each school. He must conduct preventive lessons, said Minister of Education and Science Serhiy Shkarlet, reports RBC-Ukraine.

In addition, on 4 August, the Cabinet of Ministers approved a plan of measures to implement the Declaration on School Safety. The Declaration contains a number of commitments to prevent and respond to attacks on educational institutions and their use for military purposes in situations of armed conflict.

The plan provides for:

  •     creation of a system for monitoring attacks on educational institutions;
  • ensuring the protection of educational institutions from attacks and their recovery in case of damage;
  • ensuring the continuity of learning;
  • introducing conflict-sensitive instruments into educational policy;
  • ensuring a systematic approach to protecting education in an armed conflict.

At the moment, there are no other details on the implementation of the plan.

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