Ministry rings bell on school safety measures

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Ministry rings bell on school safety measures


Students of Bangi Elementary School in Seoul practice blowing whistles distributed by the Songpa District Office and police, to protect themselves as the number of crimes against children has recently soared. [YONHAP]

Elementary school students who attend school in crime-prone areas should feel safer now because the government has devised a plan to bulk up security for students nationwide, including armed police officers guarding schools.

The Ministry of Education, Science and Technology said yesterday that security measures will be put in place this month at 1,000 elementary schools in Korea that have been designated as requiring better safety.

These schools are all in areas that are up for redevelopment, have no separate security, have high crime rates or have high concentrations of multiplex houses with narrow alleys.

The schools will be provided with new facilities to accommodate new security guards, “some from the police force who will be authorized to carry pistols and rifles,” said Kim Yong-sop at the education ministry.

The ministry also plans to establish an automated entrance security system that will keep records of students entering and exiting the schools and send cell phone texts to parents to alert them about their children’s movements.

The ministry will provide 47 billion won ($39.6 million) to fund the program this year with roughly 47 million won going to each school.

Schools were chosen based on an assessment done in June by the national police and related ministries. Surveys of regional safety issues and crime rates were done throughout the summer.

In Seoul, 113 schools will be in the program, as well as 194 in Gyeonggi and 64 in Busan.

There are 5,855 elementary schools in Korea.

By Christine Kim []
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