Schools must look out for their students

Yesterday, front page newspaper reports carried a shocking account of how parents of a six-year-old senior KG student complained to the police that an unidentified person, with the help of a woman attendant of a school bus contracted with a Kurla-based international school, sexually abused their child several times this month.

The boy’s mother alleged that the female attendant used to hand over her son to a man midway on the journey from his creche in Kurla (W) to the school. Parents were alerted to the fact that something was wrong from changes in the child’s behaviour.

It is shocking that a child could actually be taken from a school bus and handed over to a person for sexual abuse. The case throws the spotlight even brighter on child sexual abuse, the growing number of cases of abuse of small children, especially school students and the need for schools.

While one needs to tackle this on a war footing — and the government, parents, and police all have to play a part in combating this problem — schools have to acknowledge that a growing number of cases are occurring in what is supposed to be a safe cocoon offered by them in the school premises or school

It is important that schools remain doubly alert about who they recruit. How is their school bus manned? Are children feeling secure? Are they being taught to recognise signs of molestation? Are they being told to report such incidents? While no institution can be held solely responsible for this growing problem, schools must surely awaken to the fact that better security and eternal vigilance is the need of the hour.  

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