Seven year old boy brutally murdered in school toilet, rape of 5 year old in campus premises, 4 year old child made hostage for non-payment of fees, 11 year old girl child punished to stand in boys toilet for not wearing the school uniform? If a child is not safe in his own school, where is the child safe today? It is beyond words to describe the plight of the parents who admitted their child to school to provide him better education; they woke up every morning with a hope in their hearts, a prayer in their mind, prepared the breakfast, fed their kid, dressed him up , escorted him to the safety of the school gate and left him to the secure environment of the school, only to discover one day, that their little boy, their beloved son is brutally killed inside the school. Oh Mourn! mourn the loss of humanity; pity, pity the death of society; Condemn; condemn the culprits of heinous crime. Is that all we can do? Sit back in silence and watch with fear the game of evil-doers?
What kind of a hell are we living in? The temples of learning have been transformed into dark caves of horror and bloodbath. What is this environment of violence, abuse, humiliation and shame that our children are wrestling with? Even as investigations take place, inquiries are set up, media cries foul and activists spring into action, can justice be ever done to the innocent lives? Who can bring back to life the 7 year old to his parents?Who can heal the injured hearts and the battered souls of young ones? Can there be a release from these intensely painful and tormenting experiences? Above all who is to be blamed and who should be held accountable for such shameless occurrences?
What is more disturbing is that the investigations have revealed severe security lapses. There are no adequate provisions in schools to monitor the security of children. While most public schools do not shy away from charging hefty fees from parents, they have shown little sensitivity in adopting safety measures and evolving preventive strategies to counter such horrific deeds. When there are such demons lurking in every dark corner, shifting the blame and avoiding accountability is a crime. Hiding a crime is a bigger crime. Is the prestige, name, fame, ego of a person or institution larger than our morality? The children are the collective accountability of the parents, teachers, schools and nation as a whole. To provide them a happy, healthy and safe childhood is our primary responsibility. Instead of working in isolated spheres, it is time to join hands and come together to combat the evil forces. The guilty should be punished. Juvenile laws should be strengthened. There should be no mercy for such inhuman behaviour.
At this moment of deep crisis and loss of faith, safeguarding our children should be our immediate priority. What steps can be taken by the school authorities and parents to help create a secure environment?
- Focus on prevention, preparedness, response and recovery
- Tighten security by guarding entry points, corridors, galleries, restrooms and other private corners
- Restrict entries to kids zone, keep high vigilance by maximizing the use of security cameras, communication networks, lightening and fences
- Strictly conduct police verification of all staff and employees before hiring
- School visitors management system should be consolidated by keeping single entry point and installing smart entry system and scanning machines at entry point to prevent unwanted visitors
- School and Parent Community coalition should be established to develop transparent measures and ensure collective efforts. Participation of parents will enforce deeper trust and heightened sense of responsibility
- Educate the children to spread awareness and empower them
- Never think “It cannot happen to me”, create an emergency plan and a strong backup
What could be deeper tragedy of the human race to see its children suffer and live under constant fear of survival? Childhood is the most precious gift of lifetime, it is full of careless laughter, innocent talks, fairy tales, magic world charms and funny games. Happy childhood lays a foundation for a happy life. Engulfed by fear and surrounded by pain, children today are forced to live under pressure and swallow the pain. If we allow this to happen it will happen, if we do not act, nothing will change.
Let every child have the right to stay alive, let every corner become a secure palace, let not there be sleepless nights, no horror, no fear, no more abuses , no more tears.
Only we can bring back hope and joy, we can help the little ones to overcome fear. So raise your voice against injustice, let not the evil win. You can bring a change in the world. Join hands to let humanity win.
Be an agent of change…