Violence in schools

Heinous crimes are being committed regularly in schools – even reputable ones where the scions of the rich and the well-to-do study. The victims are children. Murder, rape, sodomy are being committed with impunity. Sometimes corporal punishments are given by the teachers causing severe physical injury to the victims who have to be sent to hospital. A video has appeared which shows that an older child is boxing the ear of a younger child in a school. The victim lost his hearing. The latest horrific crime was committed in an elite school in Haryana where a seven-year-old child was found murdered with his throat slit open. After every such crime it is found that either the CCTV cameras were not working, or there was laxity in checking the entry of the outsiders or some part of a school wall or building had been broken and any outsider could trespass into the school without anyone being aware of it. In one school, a female child was made to stand in the man’s toilet for her ‘crime’ of not coming to the school in prescribed school uniform. If the girl had been molested there, who would have been held responsible? The teacher concerned, the headmaster or the owners?
Fixing the guilt in cases where the school authorities are involved becomes extremely difficult. In the Haryana school incident, some people have already approached the court for getting an anticipatory bail. It is in this school that a boy’s throat was slit. The police have arrested someone who is alleged to have confessed to his crime (sodomy). And now it has been found that he was a rank outsider who illegally entered the school through a broken wall without anyone being aware, for the sole purpose of abusing a child.  Usually in such cases the school authorities escape through legal loopholes by engaging a battery of eminent lawyers. Only someone in the menial staff is caught and punished. The fees that these schools charge are exorbitantly high. Therefore, there can be no excuses on their part for failing to ensure the safety of the children as long as they are in their charge. The Government – both at the Centre and in the States – will have to take a holistic view of the problem and force the school authorities to ensure that everything is done to protect the children in their charge. Any dereliction of duty on their part should be made culpable for them and deterrent and exemplary punishments should be given them.

Monday, 11 September, 2017