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Student Road Safety Stepped Up

The spotlight has once again fallen on school security in the capital as the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau steps up safety at all schools and kindergartens.

The move has taken on a particular sense of urgency and purpose following a spate of incidents in which children have been hurt or even killed while at school.

On Monday, a truck ploughed into a group of students who were out jogging, killing 21 and injuring 30 in north China's Shanxi Province. About three weeks ago, cries of "ghost" triggered a stampede which killed 12 students and injured 27 at a primary school in southwest China's Sichuan Province.

Early last month, in southwest China's Chongqing Municipality, five students were killed and three injured when their over-loaded school bus turned over.

"As road accidents are listed as the No 1 student killer, traffic safety is the focus of our next campaign to ensure campus safety in the city," said Gao Yu, deputy director of the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau at a press conference yesterday.

"Great efforts have been made since June when the Ministry of Public Security spelled out eight measures to ensure safety in schools."

Bureau figures show that during the past five months, the bureau has helped set up 63 traffic lights and 235 traffic signs around schools. About 211 parking spaces and 115 pedestrian crossings were also put in near schools.

The next step is to check the city's school buses and ensure every bus driver undergoes safety training, said Gao. He also urged schools to hold regular fire drills.

"We're setting up an interactive system between schools and public security organs to prevent and better manage campus accidents," he said.

Xiao Lijun, mother of a 10-year-old boy at the Huixinli Primary School, said she applauded such measures to ensure students' safety.

"Children's safety is the top priority of every family," she said while waiting at the school gate for her son yesterday. "That crossing is newly added. But I hope these safety efforts are not just a passing trend."

(China Daily November 16, 2005)

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