Education is meant to help break ridiculous stereotypes, not reinforce them. It seems, however, that city schools have not got the message. After two students were molested by staffers in a co-education ICSE school in Juhu, the management has fallen back on the oldest trick in the book to prevent such cases in the future preventing their students from dressing ‘provocatively’ during school field trips.
The students, some of whom went to Goa for the field trip, were asked to ensure that their swimming costumes also covered the legs. Representation pic/Thinkstock
Never mind that the students who were molested were four years old, and thus incapable of dressing ‘provocatively’, and were in school uniform when the incidents happened. What’s even more interesting is the school’s definition of provocative shorts. Last week, the management of the school informed parents that all students should be fully clothed while on the school field trip even while swimming.
“In the first meeting for the Goa trip, the school officials said long shorts will be allowed. Then, two days before the trip they said only 3/4ths will be allowed. And then, just one day before the trip, on the day of the open house, it was announced that only jeans will be allowed. Even swimming costumes need to cover the legs. This has never happened before,” said a parent, requesting anonymity.
While Class V and VI students went to Goa for their trip, other students who visited Jaipur were also asked to wear jeans only. When mid-day contacted the school management, the spokesperson said that ‘modest’ attire is a requirement for all trips and nothing new had been implemented. The management refused to divulge any further details, calling it an internal matter.
“We are in touch with all the parents via email and are also talking to them personally,” said the spokesperson. Parents also said that no official circular about the attire was sent to them and they were informed about the no-shorts rule verbally.
Apart from students’ attire, the school has also implemented new rules regarding school timings and entry and exit. In a circular dated October 10, the management has stated that during school hours, parents will not be allowed inside the school premises.
In case a parent wants to visit the school management, they will be allowed inside the premises after school hours and only if they have appointment slips duly signed by the supervisor. Parents’ entry to the school library will also be restricted to only 90 minutes in the morning.
“They (the school authorities) are putting restrictions on parents as if somebody’s father walked in and molested the child. This is very offensive,” said one of the parents. Asked about this, the school spokesperson maintained that changes to school rules, if any, are being shared with parents personally and refused to divulge any details.
>> In January last year, a four-year-old female student of the school was molested by the school bus cleaner. An FIR was lodged and the 35-year-old bus attendant was sentenced to seven years rigorous imprisonment.
>> Last month, another female four-year-old kindergarten student of the school became the victim of molestation at the hands of a 25-year-old school cleaner. The accused is currently in police custody.