Sharjah Indian School says the chances of one of its students being molested in a school bus appear to be bleak as she was never alone on the bus with the conductor or driver.
A police complaint has been lodged about a four-and-a-half year old girl being sexually assaulted on the school bus. The child was later taken to hospital with bleeding and urinary tract infection.
A senior official of a school management committee who is also a parent of a child told Emirates 24|7 that the child was picked up at 10.10am and the bus reached the school at 10.40am.
“In the bus trip there are 27 stops. She boarded the bus at the 14th stop and there were 13 stops after she was on the bus to school. Also, if there was any such incident the school officials would have noticed it first,” said Nizar Talangara, General Secretary of Indian Association, Sharjah, that is in-charge of running the school.
"The child was never alone on the bus, but was with other schoold children," he said.
“Either way, the police are investigating the case and we are waiting for the results. I am not trying to defend the conductor. But we just do not want the wrong person to be blamed,” said Telangara.
Sharjah police have detained the conductor and have called in several people for questioning.
Meanwhile, many parents who spoke to Emirates 24|7 expressed their outrage over the incident and said it is the responsibility of mothers to teach their children about the difference between a “good touch” and a “bad touch”.
“It is our responsibility to educate the children. I have already started telling my four-year-old child about the things she needs to watch out for,” said Priya D.
Another mother of a four-year-old girl is planning to place her child in Kindergarten next year said she would insist on a school bus with a lady conductor beforehand.
“Right now she goes to a playschool in Al Khan in Sharjah and they have a lady conductor on the bus,” she said.
Meanwhile, a teaching staff in Our Own English School in Sharjah said almost 25 per cent of the conductors on school buses are women. “The transition is being made. The management is trying its best to place male conductors into alternate jobs. Cameras have been installed on all vehicles. No one except those holding a valid pass is allowed to enter the school bus,” said the teacher who did not wan to be identified.
According to her, many honest and genuine conductors are worried following such incidents. “They are worried about losing their jobs. One of them, who is the conductor in my daughter’s bus told me that the child wanted him carry her to touch the balloon. But he had refused. I appreciated him and am also educating my child about strangers touching her and the difference between a good and a bad touch,” she added.