The ballooning number of school-related crimes in the recent weeks has put a big question mark on the security of students on school premises. Schools fail to answer for horrific incidents like the Ryan International murder taking place in the first place. Consequently, the parent community across the country is in a grip of fear.
Negligence on part of school authorities is unacceptable
“Safety of children within the school premises is a non-negotiable pre-requisite for any parent. It is the school’s task to provide security, safety and a caring and nurturing atmosphere. Any negligence on part of school authorities which can lead to children being abused, especially sexual abuse, is absolutely unacceptable,” says Deepshikha Chakravarti from Pune, a mother of two-year-old.
Kusha Kalra, Founder of Happy Lives, feels that there are a lot of factors which make schools unsafe for students. She pointed out that a lot of things like background check procedure for employees, functioning of cameras monitored to ensure all are in working condition, availability of support staff/female helpers on the staircase are missing in schools.
She also emphasised that a lot of times, teachers are not aware of the whereabouts of kids. They don’t check whether they are present not just at the start of the day, but post lunch and end of the day too.
“We wake up every morning, prepare lunch for the children, drop them at the school and then this is what we get to hear from them. You cannot trust anyone these days,”- Asha Singh
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Role of parents
She also explained how parents can do their bit in ensuring safety of their children. “As parents, we must provide awareness to our children of good touch and bad touch, keep a track of their day-to-day school routine to have an idea of whereabouts of the child, discuss with them about sensitive issues like bullying, ragging, peer pressure etc and guiding and supporting them to deal or overcome such issues and encourage our kids to learn self-defence and other tactics to help them feel safe, secure and independent.”
Cannot trust anyone now
Asha Singh, a mother of two pubescents, recalls that the news of the Ryan International murder case gave her shivers and goosebumps. “We wake up every morning, prepare lunch for the children, drop them at the school and then this is what we get to hear from them. You cannot trust anyone these days,” she said, adding that it must be the sole responsibility of the school authorities to ensure the security of the children on the school premises.
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Government intervention can help
“Such cases aren’t new. But it is just that people are more aware now because of social media platforms. It is a harsh reality whether we like it or not. But since prevention is better than cure, you need to teach your children about good and bad touch. This can happen via parents as well and by schools in the form of a small orientation. At the higher level, there needs to be a quick governmental intervention. It must prepare and keep contact databases of organisations that have a lot of people working in it,” says Ritu Gorai, Chief Connect Officer at JAMM’s network (Journey About Mast Moms).
We hope that in the coming years, schools become places they are ideally meant for. Parents should be able to send their children to schools without a shred of fear in their minds.