In light of the recent cases of minor rapes and child abuse, Indian parents are struggling to find any safe places for their kids.
Sadly, even Schools that were once considered as a safe place, are now turning into a major hub of child abuse. And, one such recent incident, which not only shocked but also disgusted us, happened with 40 young girl students at a school in Haryana.
So What Happened?
A shocking incident has come to light as 40 girl students from classes 5 – 10 have alleged the sexual harassment at school. These brave kids shared the details of the assault with a child protection officer conducting a workshop on sensitizing students about improper contact.
While sharing the details Sunita Yadav, the child protection officer, added that more students may come forward soon.
“Students inside a government school have been harassed by their teachers. We have statements of 40 children who say the teachers threatened them with failure in exams if they did not comply with demands.”
As shared by NDTV, some of these assaults reportedly happened inside a lab on school premises and others at places inside the compound. And, none of these places has CCTV coverage.
A first information report (FIR) filed with local police states:
“…(teachers) used to threaten and sexually harass them and even gave corporal punishment to children and used to insist they come early in the morning before school time and go (home) late and threaten to fail them”.
Commission Finds Shocking Shortcomings
The Haryana State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (HSCPCR) Chairperson said that in course of inspection it was observed that all the students who had registered complaints against three school staff, including lab assistant, computer operator and physical training instructor (PTI) are studying between Class VI to X.
She further pointed out that School had not followed the necessary guidelines released by the Commission,
“Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (PCSO) Committee comprising of female teacher and students was not formed by the school management though it is mandatory for each school.
School’s register was not maintained properly by staff. Display of child helpline -1098 in the School campus was not appropriately done. Large numbers of female students are studying in the School but only one female teacher was appointed after 16 years in August 2019.”
In order to help young kids fight the trauma, she further added:
“The district child welfare committee has been directed to provide counseling to all the students so that they come out from the trauma and become mentally strong,”
Though the two teachers of a government-run school in Hisar district of Haryana were arrested for sexually harassing the girl students, the third is still absconding.
A Humble Request To Every Parent
Due to increasing cases of child abuse, we at IFORHER, have a humble request to every parent. We understand than many of you may be struggling to maintain peace of mind with these increasingly disturbing incidents of sexual harassment at school. But as parents we need to be sure that we don’t instill fear in our kids, rather make them bold and courageous.
It is much more important than ever to stay in touch with your kids and, talk to them about child abuse. Discuss with them what they need to do if they face such a situation. It is important for us to prepare them better so that they can fight back the abusers in the most appropriate way possible.
Because if we don’t then who will? If not now, then when?
In alignment with the POCSO Act, I For Her cannot reveal the names of the school or the victims.