Earlier this month, a brutal inhumane act took place at Ryan International School, Gurugram.
A bus conductor, Ashok, wanted to sexually assault the boy and when he screamed for help, he was murdered.
This caused parents around the country a lot of distress as they were worried that their child might be hiding incidents of assaults from them.
The Mumbai Police proposed a plan wherein they deployed two officials to each school. Following up on this idea, the Telangana (TG) and Andhra Pradesh (AP) Police forces are toying with the idea of deploying Police Officers at PTA meetings, but will this actually be fruitful at all and in what way will this affect all the parties involved?
This article will largely be a dialogue about the facts about the schools in TG and AP, Police Stations around the country, how schools can keep their security tight, therapy for the victims as well as the culprits.
Let’s start with the security of the schools…
I firmly believe that if schools raise their security, the police wouldn’t have to step in for such incidents; also, therapy and awareness should be targeted first, rather than police officers.
Ryan International School, Gurugram, didn’t have a full-time principal/headmaster for over a year; that speaks volumes. It also begs the question about how many such schools out there with such discrepancies exist.
I dug out a little and an article from the Times of India, dated May 10th 2016, says that an MHRD report found out that 95% of schools in TG don’t have a full-time principal. This figure in itself is astonishing because when you don’t have a leader at the helm then how do you expect any sort of rational functioning of the school, let alone security?
More from the report:
- The report further says that, as of May 2016, there are about 42,623 private and government schools in TG.
- Nearly 16,313 schools in the state have just two or fewer teachers.
- 2,125 schools have no teachers at all.
- Of the 31 TG districts, Adilabad has 559 schools with zero teachers.
The other districts with zero teachers are:
Ranga Reddy 298
The absence of a principal leads to low level of accountability.
So, my first part of the solution would be to fix these issues first, i.e. to appoint a full-time principal to all the schools after careful judgement.
Now, I would like to say that the schools across the country should add CCTV cameras across their campuses. Given that we never know how people might react to a situation, all the staff members of the school should go through Police Verification and all the security guards who will be appointed from there on should be screened vigorously.
As schools also have non-permanent employees, the schools should set up systems wherein they can check-up regularly with them,
The DAV Public School, Nerul, started issuing ID cards for workers based on their basic details, what they are going to work on and for how long, and the school’s logo.
An Economic Problem?
As per an article on The Times of India, dated January 15th, 2017, there are about 15,555 Police Stations in the country.
As on January 2016, there were about 22,86,691 police officers across all states and union territories.
I researched a little and found out that as per 2010 there were about 1.4 lakh secondary schools and 4.5 lakh primary schools in India.
Looking at the scale of it, it’s a bit daunting to deploy officers all across the country as they would have to concentrate on other parts of their work too and also that they may run out of manpower to do so! The projected population of children aged 6 to 17 in 2016 was about 29.5 crores, and it will increase as the years pass by, so it wouldn’t be optimal for the Police Force around the country to assign a certain number of personnel to schools across the country.
The second part of the solution would be the form a circle of security around the child, in the sense that the parents, guardians, assigned teachers, assigned transporters (school bus or otherwise), and the rest of the school’s staff must take part in the safety of the child.
The third part of the solution would be for the police to get help in the form of NGO’s to spread awareness and psychologists for schools that don’t have one.
Therapy sessions must be held with victims of any kind of abuse/assault as this would help them open up and hopefully lead a better life from then on.
Also, having police in schools during PTA meets might get a little intimidating for the parents, unless they don’t address it aggressively.
Should therapy be done just in schools?
No, I believe therapy should be provided regardless of being in school. The best way to prevent it would be to provide it to the culprits also, not just the victims.
An Australian study points out that very few culprits who abused children sexually were themselves abused as children. But, at the same time 77% of the children who were abused as children, are highly likely to commit other forms of crime as adults.
These studies direct us to take action in the form of therapy right from the grassroots level to adults.
Summarising it all, I’d like to jot the main points down:
- Filling in the gaping holes in the schools’ hierarchical structure.
- Form a circle of security around the child
- Periodical check-up of the security by the police and the schools security teams.
- Awareness and therapy to everyone around for a better tomorrow.
Hoping that we don’t produce any more Ashok’s like these, or save them before they turn into monsters.
So, these are my two cents on this particular issue. What do you think? If you’ve got better ideas as to how to deal with this particular issue, please let me know down below in the comments section.
- 95% of TG schools headless:
- The Police station figures:
- The number of schools report:
- The Australian study: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-06-23/am-sexual-abuse-study/4088096
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