MUMBAI: The death of a seven-year-old in Ryan International School, Gurgaon, prompted worried parents across Mumbai to shoot off queries on safety issues to various school managements on Tuesday. They have demanded that schools review their “safety machinery”.
At Swami Vivekanand International School, Borivli, several parents have been approaching the authorities. “The incident has created panic among all parents, even though we take care of all things. We are speaking to them on an individual level and assuring them that we are doing all we can to ensure that students are safe in our care,” said director Yogesh Patel.
Similarly, at Children’s Academy Group of Schools, the management reviewed and appraised parents about infrastructure measures. “We have conducted the safety workshop for 120 principals to help schools with guidelines because many don’t know where to begin,” said Rohan Bhatt, trustee of the school.
Experts working against child sexual abuse said it is time managements and parents work together to make schools safe spaces. “There is no point in playing the blame game after an incident has happened. Parents must ensure that they have an active Parent Teachers Association which works with the management to ensure safety is a priority. Schools must not only ensure infrastructural but also emotional safety,” said Pooja Taparia of Arpan, an NGO. Psychiatrist Dr Harish Shetty said parents must ask the right questions. “They must ask if security cameras are working and being monitored, if the staff uses separate washrooms and if security is reviewed periodically.”
A group of teachers has written to school education minister Vinod Tawde with safety suggestions. “Schools must be asked to involve local police for expert opinion while planning safety infrastructure. If required, parents must be involved in the process and made stakeholders,” said Anil Bornare of Shikshak Parishad, a teachers’ group.
Source: The Times of India