To Worry Or Not To Worry — Can Parents Really Relax After Sending Children To School?

Posted: September 18, 2017

With the growing violence and sexual assault cases against children in India, can parents really relax after sending children to school? #WomenOnTheMove

Every morning, when my daughter waves me goodbye as she leaves for school, I brace myself up to take the biggest leap of faith. Sounds melodramatic?! Trust me, I am not the only one worrying here. With the increase in incidences of violence against children — from sexual assault to corporal punishment to bullying to public humiliation that scars them for life — parents across the country are far from being relaxed when their child is at school; they are scared.

The recent brutal murder of a seven year old in Gurgaon is heart wrenching to say the least; the news gave me goosebumps. As the gory details of the incident emerges everyday, I can’t help but think about the parents of the child. Like any other parent, they too must have waved to their bundle of joy when he left for school that morning. Little did they know that it would be the last time they would see him alive and smiling.

It is natural for us to feel angry, hurt, betrayed and even helpless. But among this whole gamut of emotions, the burning question that stays is — who is responsible for the safety of our children — is it the school or the parents or at a larger level, the government?

In our weekly #WomenOnTheMove chat over at Twitter, we discussed whether schools adhere to the POCSO guidelines and what responsibilities do we have as parents to ensure safety of our children. This is what #WomenOnTheMove said. (If you’re not yet following Women’s Web on Twitter, do now, and you can come over for the chat too, every Wednesday 6-7 pm IST).

The rules are at place but are they being implemented at the ground level?

The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO) was formulated in order to effectively address sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children. Schools were given detailed guidelines to follow that are amended from time to time.

Are these guidelines taken seriously by the schools?

If not, why?

Role of parents

We are scared, we are concerned. Hence, the call of the hour is — we have to take matters into our hands. As parents, on the backdrop of rising violence against children, we cannot wash our hands off all responsibilities. We have to ensure that our kids are in a safe environment where they do not feel violated or threatened.

Raising concern with the school management

Our children spend maximum time of the day, away from us, in schools. The growing incidences of violence against children are a major cause of concern among parents. But are the schools managements concerned enough?

In the above scenario, what can parents do?

As parents, we cannot and should not sit back because we face an uncooperative school management. After all they are our children and we have to ensure they are safe.

Conducting random checks

Insisting on creating a database of all school employees

Ensuring that CCTV cameras are installed in every blind spot and also make sure they are up and running

Something’s not right — raise your voice!

Talk to your child and trust them — yes that is the most important thing you can do to ensure your child’s safety

Image: Pixabay?

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