Sat, Nov 11, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Lawmakers call for personal alarms for Taichung students

By Ou Su-mei, Su Meng-chuan and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporters, with staff writer

Taichung lawmakers on Thursday urged the Taichung City Government to follow Taipei’s lead in providing personal alarms to help keep schoolchildren safe.

Taipei this year distributed 38,000 personal alarms to first and second-grade children, and starting next year, it will give one to all elementary schoolchildren across the city, Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Johnny Chiang (江啟臣) said.

Students are drilled to attract attention from others, sound the alarm and run away, he said.

At only NT$150 (US$5) apiece, it would cost the Taichung City Government NT$6.7 million to provide personal alarms to the city’s 44,601 first and second-grade students, or NT$21 million if it gives one to all of the city’s 111,359 elementary-school students, Chiang said.

That compares with the city government spending tens of millions of New Taiwan dollars on celebratory events — money that could be spent on devices that could help save a life, he added.

KMT Taichung city councilors Chang Ching-fen, Chen Pen-tien (陳本添) and Lo Yung-chen (羅永珍) seconded the motion, accusing the city government of overspending on carnivalesque events.

The Taichung Department of Education said that current measures to ensure the safety of schoolchildren include community volunteers and patrols from the nearest police stations or precincts to the schools.

It said it is studying the feasibility of issuing personal alarms to schoolchildren and has yet to reach a conclusion.

More attention and effort should be devoted to teaching students how to react under pressure or protect themselves, it said.

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