Recent incidents of atrocities in schools, such as the heinous murder in Ryan International School, Gurugram, is the wakeup call our society desperately needs in terms of safety.
The concepts of trust and safety are complex, just as human emotions are. When children are admitted into a school, they spend a substantial number of hours of the day, in a place away from home. The first stage of a child’s education is the school. Children are absolutely naïve when they enter schools and leaving the confines of their homes is the biggest challenge for them. They whole heartedly embrace the world and the new people in it. All this while, they are trust their teachers and their elders in the school for their safety. But these days, the schools are letting them down.
Schooling is not merely an establishment to impart knowledge, but forges a place where the future of the child is determined. Children learn simple things like basic manners and etiquettes in their primary education. The parents impart massive trust in the institution. The same is expected to hone the talents of their children and develop theminto good human beings. Adults are willing to shell out a lot of money just so their child can become successful in life.
The recent incident of Ryan International School, Gurugram, sent shivers all across the country. The brutal murder of the 7-year-old boy has left his parents as well as the parents of children across the Delhi-NCR region utterly petrified. The students of the school confirmed that the specific branch was always neglected by the main administration and that the principals were puppets, acting according to the bizarre rules of the “central office”. Despite having a beautiful and big campus, the school faced severe shortcomings in logistics. The buses of the school were rejects by the other branches, and the condition of the musical instruments was very poor. Whenever a principal tried to obtain funds by sending a list of improvements required to the main administration, the list would come back with cross marks all over it, completely denying any sanctions. Else, the school was asked to revert with substantial trims made in the list.
Numerous instances all across the country have surfaced in the past 4-5 years where children are sexually exploited by school staff. Half the children are unaware of the sexual harassment they go through and the number of boys to girls in this ratio of students is staggeringly high too. A number of such instances have left young girls pregnant.
CBSE has recently passed an order to conduct psychometric tests of all the teaching staff, non-teaching staff, sweepers, peons and bus conductors. The move has come after the death of Ryan International School’s student, but the procedure is lengthy. A single test takes anywhere between half an hour to an hour, and CBSE has more than 200 schools in India and abroad. The schools can also not be fully trusted with the authenticity of the test results. As a response to the present situation at Ryan’s, Haryana Police has issued a guide to safety for the schools located in NCR.
The need of the hour is for schools all across India to implement strict safety measures. CCTV cameras should be installed in all corners. Teacher attendants must be present in the buses in the morning as well as the afternoons. A teacher attendant or a guard outside washrooms must be present. Separate washrooms for students, teaching staff and non-teaching staff should be provided. No student should be allowed to enter the class alone before all students have arrived. All students’ ID cards should be checked by the guards at the gate and each student’s arrival and departure be monitored.
The school is a child’s second abode, so the onus lies on the schools to ensure the safety of our children, because we cannot endure such atrocities against them anymore.
Feature image credits: DNA India