Child Abuse at Schools—What can you do to prevent it?

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A 6-year old child who is barely old enough to comprehend the meaning of the word “rape” was subjected to this cruelty at her school—a place where her parents believe she is safe and protected. Parents and caregivers in Bangalore have openly protested against this horrific crime. In the light of these events, another mother reveals that her own daughter was subjected to a similar experience at another prestigious school two years ago and speaks of her helplessness in winning due justice for her child as the organization refuted her claim.

Stories of child abuse are on the rise. With children as young as two years old being targetted by pedophiles, every parent including me fears for the safety of their child the minute they are out of sight.  Most abusers roam scot-free and continue to live guiltlessly. These sociopaths are devoid of any trace of humanity when they choose to molest a child who is too young to even understand what is happening to them.

Even more apalling is the approach of the schools and organizations that employ such staff, and choose to turn a blind eye to what happened under their vigil. In this case, everyone associated—from the teacher who punished the child, to the security staff, the person who discovered the little girl after she was tortured and the administrators are accountable for the crime, and deserve to be punished.

Punishment however doesn’t erase the crime, nor return everything back to normal. Can we avoid these crimes in the future, rather than obtain punishment for the offenders after the assault?

It is difficult, because we have allowed educational organizations to be lax about security. How? Consider the following—As parents, how many of us check a school’s safety guidelines when we seek admission? While looking for huge campuses and facilities, do we ever stop to think of the associated extent of danger that this may pose? How many schools actually have child protection policies or guidelines in case of emergencies? What are the institution’s rules regarding punishment? More importantly, are staff aware of such guidelines? Do you know whether the school  you chose performs background checks on staff members? How many schools encourage you to frequently communicate with staff to understand what is going on with your ward?

Child abuse

Incidents like this teach us that blindly trusting an education institution with the precious life of your children is closing your eyes to several dangers. It is better to be safe than sorry. Keep close tabs on the teachers, staff and school authorities, do not hesitate to discuss with other parents or ask staff about any concerns. Regularly be in touch with your child’s school and ensure they realize that you will not tolerate even the smallest misdeed. Any school with staff who are dismissive should be avoided at all costs. Schools do not necessarily check staff references or qualifications. If this has to change, parents should enforce this. Parents should be proactive, should they suspect child abuse or learn of inappropriate punishment being employed. Stand up and defend the concerned child even if it isn’t your own—remember that if you stay quiet today, it may be your son or daughter who suffers the same tomorrow.

In the recent wake of  events, we all boil with rage and feel for the parents who are traumatized by the suffering their little one was subjected. But let us not forget this incident quickly, or let it be just another one amongst the hundreds of child abuse cases. Let us open our eyes and acknowledge that child abuse is indeed a reality that can hit us too. Only then can we do our part to stop similar incidents in the future.

About the Author: Sapna Jayaram

With the background of education in engineering and an under lying passion for writing Sapna is a full-time mother to two precious little men and wife to a wonderful man. Always on the lookout for new things to learn, she is a voracious reader, ambitious cook and an organizing freak. While she is not experimenting in kitchen, re-organizing the house or learning from the children, she is lost in the world of thoughts; thoughts that run faster than the wind as she try to tie them down with words before they elude her and are lost.

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