If you want to understand how to become better allies to people with disabilities, then join us at Embracing All Abilities: Including People with Disabilities at Work.
If you are a parent and are deeply concerned about the safety of your child in their school, these are some discussions you should be having with the school’s management during every parent-teacher meeting.
The recent news as reported in The News Minute, of a 4-year-old girl being subjected to sexual abuse by her school principal’s driver for over 2 months within the school premises has caused uproar in the city. Parents were seen protesting outside the school, questioning the lapses from the staff, that lead to this horrific incident.
It was easy to spot how the school was being completely negligent of the safety of their students.
These are just some of the questions that immediately come to mind when we read about the incident. These glaring holes point to major lapses in the school’s administration. As a parent, I feel enraged that the school didn’t take the most basic steps to ensure that it remains a safe space for the child.
All of us know the existence of the POCSO Act, which came into existence in 2012, ten years ago. But do you know that the act outlines several mandates and recommendations for schools to ensure effective prevention of CSA?
Merely the existence of a Child Protection Policy and POCSO committee doesn’t guarantee that the school is committed to preventing CSA. If parents have a thorough understanding of the POCSO guidelines for schools and regularly question the authorities on their implementation, it will ensure that every child is safe from sexual abuse within the school premises.
With our changing times, schooling has seen an evolution of sorts where we see increased interaction among parents and the school’s management. Parents are now expected to participate more in their child’s education. Communication between the school and parents is now beyond the customary quarterly parent-teacher meetings and mandatory signatures on report cards.
Isn’t it time to reclaim our power as parents and hold the school accountable for our children’s safety? Shouldn’t our interaction with the school be two-way, instead of us constantly being told where our children must improve academically?
If you are a parent and are deeply concerned about the safety of your child in their school, these are some discussions you should be having with the school’s management during every parent-teacher meeting. Their response to these questions will demonstrate their attitude toward the prevention of CSA.
The POCSO committee: Who are the members of their POCSO committee? Do they have any representation from parents? How often do they hold meetings? Are these meeting minutes accessible by parents through their websites?
Staff sensitisation: Are ALL their staff sensitized about CSA? Do they understand their responsibility to report any knowledge of sexual abuse within the school premises, even if the child is not directly under their purview?
A functional security system: How do they ensure limiting access of classrooms and children to peripheral employees? Is there a functional security system in place, with regularly monitored CCTV cameras?
Teaching children about their body: Do they hold any age-appropriate educational sessions with children on body safety, through TRAINED professionals? Note that improper sex education by untrained people cannot be considered an effective tool to prevent CSA.
School-parent collaboration: How do they collaborate with parents whose children appear distressed and exhibit behavioral changes? This is a tricky area, especially for younger children like the girl in this specific incident. They are not at the age where they can effectively verbalize what troubles them. But this does not absolve the school of its responsibility towards every child’s emotional well-being.
Staff logistics: How do they handle staff shortages or the absence of regular staff? Do they have remedial/substitute teachers who are equally trained and qualified to monitor children?
Teacher-student ratio: What is the teacher-student ratio, and how do they ensure that every child in the class gets due attention from the staff? It is unacceptable that the staff, in this case, did not even realize the absence of the child!
We cannot expect our children to understand the concept of body safety after a single conversation with them. Sex education is a deeply nuanced topic that encompasses several other aspects such as bodily autonomy, boundaries, and age-appropriate education on sexuality among others. Considering how most of us never received appropriate sex-ed as children, it would be imperative that we educate ourselves BEFORE talking to our children.
When people started realizing the importance of educating children about body safety, a mere conversation about “good touch, bad touch” was considered sufficient. However, considering how sexual predators choose their victims and groom them before abusing them sexually, it is important to shift our focus beyond this simplistic view. Maya’s Amma on YouTube has some resources on this topic in Tamil and Malayalam. Aware India has a video in English to help parents talk to their children about Sexuality Education.
Parents are often confused about how to balance their stressful work lives and give their children the attention they deserve. It would help to understand that consistent, quality time with children beats quantity, hands down.
Young children and sometimes even adolescents often do not respond to our customary “How was your day?” right after school hours. They are busy trying to transition from school to the home environment and lack the emotional capacity to list down everything that happened during their day in school.
It is important to include a time for our children during the day when we connect with them in a way they understand and appreciate. This means different things for different kids – like drawing, role-play, conversations, reading books, and story time to name a few. All these are excellent ways to effectively communicate with them and get them to open up with us. I have found that role-play and “What if?” questions are excellent tools, especially for sex-ed. They empower our children with the knowledge of what to do when they are faced with a potential sexual predator.
As I numbly scrolled through the comments of a Facebook post mentioning this news item, I was aghast to see how many people had asked this one question – “What was the mother doing for 2 months? How did she not find out that her daughter was being sexually assaulted?”
This toxic narrative of placing blame on the mother for anything and everything related to parenting must stop. It is time we understood that being a father is beyond merely producing children. Fathers owe it to their families to contribute equally to every aspect of parenting that a mother does. Everything mentioned here can be done by both parents!
While there is much outrage about this piece of news currently, most of us will sadly forget about this topic in a few days until the next incident happens.
Let us consistently hold the schools at a higher position of accountability, and demand that they do what they should have done long ago. We owe it to our children to keep them safe.
Image source: welcomia Free for Canva Pro
Women's Web is an open platform that publishes a diversity of views. Individual posts do not necessarily represent the platform's views and opinions at all times. If you have a complementary or differing point of view, sign up and start sharing your views too!
An engineer turned SAHM of two who wants to be known beyond that. Passionate about words, parenting, making eco-friendly choices, feminism and lifelong learning. read more...
Women's Web is an open platform that publishes a diversity of views, individual posts do not necessarily represent the platform's views and opinions at all times.
Stay updated with our Weekly Newsletter or Daily Summary - or both!
What I loved was how there is so much in the movie of the SRK we have known, and also a totally new star. The gestures, the smile, the wit and the charisma are all too familiar, but you also witness a rawness, an edginess.
When a movie that got the entire nation in a twist – for the right and wrong reasons – hits the theatres, there is bound to be noise. From ‘I am going to watch it – first day first show’ to ‘Boycott the movie and make it a flop’, social media has been a furore of posts.
Let me get one thing straight here – I did not watch Pathaan to make a statement or to simply rebel as people would put it. I went to watch it for the sheer pleasure of witnessing my favourite superstar in all his glory being what he is best at being – his magnificent self. Because when it comes to screen presence, he burns it, melts it and then resurrects it as well like no other. Because when it comes to style and passion, he owns it like a boss. Because SRK is, in a way, my last connecting point to the girl that I once was. Though I have evolved into so many more things over the years, I don’t think I am ready to let go of that girl fully yet.
There is no elephant in the room really here because it’s a fact that Bollywood has a lot of cleaning up to do. Calling out on all the problematic aspects of the industry is important and in doing that, maintaining objectivity is also equally imperative. I went for Pathaan for entertainment and got more than I had hoped for. It is a clever, slick, witty, brilliantly packaged action movie that delivers what it promises to. Logic definitely goes flying out of the window at times and some scenes will make you go ‘kuch bhi’ , but the screenplay clearly reminds you that you knew all along what you were in for. The action sequences are lavish and someone like me who is not exactly a fan of this genre was also mind blown.
A new Gallup poll reveals that up to 40% of Indian women are angry compared to 27% of men. This is a change from 29% angry women and 28% angry men 10 years ago, in 2012.
Indian women are praised as ‘susheel’, virtuous and to be emulated when they are obedient, ready to serve others and when they put the wishes of others before their own. However, Indian women no longer seem content to be in the constrictive mould that the patriarchy has fashioned for them. A Gallup poll looked at the issue of women’s anger, their worry, stress, sadness and found that women consistently feel these emotions more than men, particularly in India.
Please enter your email address