After deadly attacks, security tightened at schools ahead of Int'l Children's Day

21:49, May 31, 2010      

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From deployment of more security guards to cutting back outdoor celebratory activities, primary schools and kindergartens across China have tightened campus security ahead of International Children's Day following a string of deadly attacks on young students.

At primary schools and kindergartens in the eastern cities of Jinan and Nanjing, parents are now required to show a special pass or even to be filmed when they drop off their children at school or pick them up after school.

In addition to campus security guards armed with helmets, batons and pepper spray, police officers have also been deployed to patrol school areas, which are also being cordoned off when students go to or leave classes, in several cities.

"We had planned to celebrate International Children's Day in parks and in the school playground. But in the end we dropped the plan because of security concerns. We decided to hold the celebrations in the classrooms," said Gu Na, a teacher with the No. 2 Primary School Affiliated to the Shandong University in Jinan.

"Unlike in previous years, celebrations will be shortened to a single day this year, June 1, instead of the usual practice of five days," she said.

In Beijing, education authorities have also asked primary schools and kindergartens to reduce or cancel outdoor celebrations.

Security checks will be conducted for the first time at all entrances to the Working People's Cultural Palace in downtown Beijing, where large outdoor celebrations are held on June 1 every year with the participation of thousands of children.

"We really do not want to see children's happiness undermined by the security measures, but we must be on high alert in the wake of the series of attacks at schools," Gu said.

Prior to International Children's Day, the Education Ministry, the All-China Women's Federation and 16 other agencies jointly issued a circular requiring local authorities across the country to take measures to ensure children's safety during the celebrations.

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