Arab News – The Ministry of Education has issued an alert warning school principals that they must intensify safety measures to prevent children from being kidnapped.
This comes in the wake of the kidnapping of two-year-old Juri Al-Khalidi from inside a clinic in Riyadh last week. The child was found by the police in an apartment in Ishbiliyah district on Tuesday, with a citizen and expatriate reportedly arrested for the crime.
According to a report in a local publication, the ministry said that school officials must inform parents if any transport arrangements are changed, including if a different relative or driver is asked to pick up a student.
Mubarak Al-Osaimi, spokesman of the ministry, said there are regulations in place to guide schools on protection measures, including times when students are forced to stay at school beyond normal hours if their parents are delayed.
He said that ministry regulations require schools to educate students on how to protect themselves, to inform parents if their children are absent, and monitor youngsters at all times.
Meanwhile, several principals of girls’ schools said that they have started to install surveillance cameras to check who picks up students at their gates after lessons.
“The objective of these surveillance cameras is not to monitor students, but to watch the school gate and identify those who pick up the girls. This is to prevent kidnappings,” said Fatima Hasan, the principal of a private school.
Another woman principal said she recently held discussions with officials at her school to discuss how to protect students and control the manner in which they are picked up.
If parents decide to send someone else to pick up their children they must provide these people with written permission to do so. “The school monitors any strange movements around its premises and educates students on how to protect themselves,” she said.