Each school should have one police constable from the local police station to look after its premises and each school should have safety committees that would look beyond infrastructure of the school - such and many more ideas were presented by experts as well as school representatives, at a workshop jointly organized by different schools from across city. Following few incidents of the recent past, alarming concerns have been raised over safety and security of students in schools which has made schools to come together in brainstorming on what all can be done.
First such workshop titled – Safe Schools Safe students – was held at Parel’s Damodar hall on Thursday evening. It saw participation from over 150 school representatives across city. The session also saw participation from additional police commissioned (South Mumbai) Pratap Dighavkar and psychologist Dr. Ashish Deshpande. The initiative taken up by school principals across city has culminated into forming a committee comprising of school, parents and government representatives to brainstorm on different initiatives to ensure safety of students.
“Each police station should take responsibility of school in their jurisdiction. One school one constable – an initiative, which I have begun in my jurisdiction, should be a regular phenomenon. This will allow one constable to look after one school’s security requirements. Presence of a police official will deter more than 50% of cases of sexual abuses as offenders will be scared,” said Dighavkar.
Adding to this, Dr. Deshpande, said, “Like PTA (Parent Teachers Association) and other committees on schools, another safety committee should be formed which will look at aspects beyond school’s infrastructure. Teachers have a tendency to form opinions regarding children, which leads to judgmental view or prejudices. This should stop. If any child is subjected to sexual abuse, he/she shall have a place where he can open up or has faith that opening up will not harm him/her.”
He also pointed out how schools are seen shying away from appointing full-time counselors citing financial reason. But, this should be a compulsory condition in all schools, just as how appointment of a teacher for each subject is.
One of the participants of the workshop, Shachi Tyagi, supervisor of Sitaram Prakash English high School, Parel, said, “The workshop was really enlightening. Though schools are aware of several issues such brainstorming gives guidance to resolve problems or to put preventive measures in place. Children’s safety is certainly an important responsibility for any school.”
Uday Nare, from Hansraj Morarji School, who also attended the workshop, said, “When all schools come together, issues are discussed at a larger level. Solutions or concepts coming out of such events will have appropriate platform in case they need assistance from the government.”