mid-day editorial: Vandalising schools will not make them safer
Parents are terrified by the recent spate of violent crimes against children in school. In Gurugram, where a young boy was brutally murdered allegedly by a bus conductor who was trying to sexually assault him.
Demonstrations against the school have taken a violent turn as protesters set ablaze a liquor shop close to the school. While anger and angst is certainly understood, and we stand completely by the shattered parents, it is unacceptable that people resort to violence to register their protest. Do take up the matter with the authorities in the strongest way possible and ensure that it is not erased from public memory. The focus has to be on security in schools everywhere, instead of vandalising schools.
Even as a storm continues over Gurugram, another report comes from the north about a little girl being sexually assaulted by a peon. It is time for schools to sit together and brainstorm about improving their security. They have to now get together with the police, who need to advise them about security measures and loopholes, if any, making the premises as secure as possible. Schools should induct parents into a joint programme, staffers' backgrounds must be checked thoroughly and, if necessary, a complete overhaul of security measures must be done in schools everywhere.
Technology is one thing; the human factor has to be taken into account. What are children being taught about security? Is the atmosphere in a school or at home conducive to the student telling somebody that he or she is being abused? Do the school counsellors induce confidence in the children? Every case, tragic and unfortunate though it may be, has a lesson for schools, parents and counsellors, and other custodians of student welfare.
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