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With an eye on Russian school shooting: How safe are Ukrainian schools now?

Author : 112.ua News Agency

Source : 112 Ukraine

The recent shooting in Kazan shocked Russia and the whole world. 19-year-old Ilnaz Galyaviev rushed with a gun into the school and opened fire on people
10:00, 17 May 2021

school in Dnipro
Dnipropetrovsk Regional State Administration

During the pandemic, the Kazan school refused from the guards, and watchmen sat at the entrance, who managed to press the "panic button". Law enforcers arrived at the scene in less than 10 minutes, but there were already casualties. Nine people were killed, including seven children and two teachers. 20 children and three adults were hospitalized.

We’ve tried to figure out what is the situation with security and protection in Ukrainian schools, what they say in connection with the latest events in the Ministry of Education and remember the incidents that took place in our country.

How about safety in Ukrainian schools?

After the tragic events in Kazan, Ukraine’s Ministry of Education and Science reported that schools are responsible for safety.

In recent years, at the initiative of school leaders, municipal security and electronic access systems have been installed.

However, at the same time, the Ministry of Education and Science notes that "one of the conditions for the safety of students is the conclusion of contracts with security companies, as well as the installation of video surveillance systems in schools and the introduction of electronic access systems for access to the educational institution."

In Kyiv, all schools are equipped with "panic buttons" and alarms, said Deputy Chairman of the Kyiv City State Administration Valentyn Mondryivsky on Facebook.

"We have equipped each educational institution in the capital with security and alarm alarms and video surveillance cameras. The premises are under the protection of responsible persons who do not let strangers pass," he said.

According to him, in the territories of some schools, where cases of violation of public order are most often recorded, the Municipal Guard additionally patrols. The plans are to expand the patrol zone to all establishments in the city.

Related: Russia school shooting: What happened in Tatarstan?

In total, there are 163 educational institutions in Kyiv, which are guarded by Municipal Security (these are also music, sports, and art schools). The full list of schools can be found at the disposal of the executive body of the Kyiv City Council dated 03/05/2019 No. 384 "On the approval of the address list of objects belonging to the communal property of the territorial community of the city of Kyiv and requiring the implementation of priority measures for their protection and preservation."

Now the Kyiv City State Administration is working on the implementation of a new automated alarm system with motion sensors, which will make it impossible for unauthorized access to educational institutions, in particular at night and after hours.

School guards: watchmen and private firms

Let's take a closer look at the practice of guarding on the ground floors of schools. It was the guards who, in theory, should have stopped the attackers.

It turned out that in Ukrainian schools the process of organizing security is very confusing and there are several interesting details.

First, the school administration and the teacher are responsible for the safety of children, not a uniformed security guard, watchman or grandmother-watchman - no matter how formidable they may seem.

There is indeed a position of a watchman in schools (more about it later). If the staff guard is not enough, then the founder of the educational institution can strengthen the security. How? Parents have the right to provide charitable assistance for safety.

(!) The administration of an educational institution cannot force parents to pay for security or repairs. And the management should make public information about how the funds are being used.

Related: Russian school shooting: Shooter to spend two months in remand center

Staff watchman. According to official documents, "the staff unit of the watchman's position is introduced in order to ensure the protection of the premises and structures of schools for the time necessary for this, where it is not possible to transfer the security of the building to the control panel of the private security."

All positions, including the watchman, at the school, are clearly spelled out in the "Typical Staff Standards for General Secondary Education Institutions". Changes to these standards (that is, new positions) are introduced by the Ministry of Education.

The number of watchmen in the school, it turns out, is calculated according to a special formula (!), Which was prescribed in the "Inter-sectoral norms for the number of workers serving public buildings" (document of the Ministry of Social Policy).

Parents' committees, not schools, usually contract with private security firms (although the committee is not a legal entity). Educational institutions are not formally related to contracts, and the management allegedly does not have the right to conclude contracts with security firms.

Open source

The powers of the security guard are the same as those of everyone who is at the school: in case of danger, press the panic button and/or call the police.

For example, here's a case of unsuccessful hiring of security guards for a private firm:

- In Khmelnytsky, parents paid for the services of a private security guard for several years, and then read the contract, which said that the guard was not responsible for the children and was not protecting them, but the property of the school. The contract was signed by the parent committee.

A good example:

- Member of the public organization "Blagosvit" (Kharkiv) Oksana Prusenko shared her story of how she was able to establish security in an educational institution at the expense of the city budget. The school's parents turned to the Department of Education and the city government, signed a petition to provide the city's schools with high-quality security. At the session of the City Council, a positive decision was made: video cameras were installed and security was allocated.

Related: All victims of shooting at Russia school buried

School security in the regions

The Safe School project was launched in Dnipro, which should automate the main school processes. You can submit your application here. These are also 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.

school in Dnipro
Dnipropetrovsk Regional State Administration

Thanks to such a system, parents will be able to quickly monitor a child's visit to an educational institution in a convenient way through one of the instant messengers (messenger, telegram, viber). Parents 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 when a child leaves school.

Cameras in schools are connected to the video surveillance system of the Situational Center of the Dnipro city. This makes it possible to respond quickly in the event of an emergency situation. For example, it is possible to check if the child actually left school.

It should be noted that similar programs "Safe City" in each city are implemented by the city authorities and install video cameras in educational institutions. For example, in Kremenchuk in 2019, video surveillance systems were installed in 8 schools in the city.

Also in 2019, Ukraine joined the Safe Schools Declaration. The document contains a number of obligations to prevent and respond to attacks and the use of educational institutions for military purposes during an armed conflict.

Current incidents

In the spring of 2018, in different cities of Ukraine, there was a wave of cases of spraying pepper spray in schools, which led to massive poisoning. It resembled a flash mob: cases were recorded in Kharkiv, Mykolaiv, Kherson, Cherkasy, ​​Chervonohrad, Vinnytsia, Zaporizhya.

Related: Shooting resumes on border between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan

After these cases, the Ministry of Education recommended strengthening security and restricting access to the territory of educational institutions for persons who are not directly involved in the educational process. The ministry also calls for strengthening control over the access regime and preventing poisonous, explosive, and other items from entering the school premises.

There are also incidents that CCTV cameras would have avoided. For example, this is the beating of students by teachers, illegal actions (for example, the case of brewing moonshine in the gym), or bullying by schoolchildren in the corridors.

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