How safe is your child in Shimla schools?
Shimla– Recently, parents of a pre-school child, enrolled in one of the most prestigious schools of Shimla, were exposed to the lack of trained counselors despite paying hefty fees.
The socio-economic environment and lifestyle have gone through a tremendous transformation. Children are most vulnerable to mal-adapt under the influence of complexities that came with modernization. Children are now exposed to more information than previous generations did.
In this case, parents narrated a peculiar and highly sensitive problem that required trained child counselors to deal with it appropriately.
The resident family of Shimla was shocked after what the mother discovered about her son. He had hardly spent two years in the pre-school, and from the parent’s perspective, he was in safe hands considering the reputation of the school.
One day, when the child returned home from school and the mother was giving him a bath, she noticed minute scars on his private parts. On taking a careful look, it appeared as teeth marks.
On being asked about it, the child initially showed reluctance in saying anything. However, the mother was able to persuade the child to speak. The child informed that a boy from higher class takes him to the pre-nursery classroom after they are empty and touches his private parts, and even makes him drop his pants sometimes.
The child also recalled a few occasions when he was taken to the bathroom by a boy.
I wasn’t able to believe that my child was facing abuse and bullying inside the premises of such a reputed school. He is just in pre-school. When my child told me the class in which that boy was reading, I received another shock
, told the mother to Himachal Watcher.
The boy, according to the child, was in Class I. It appeared impractical that a boy at such a tender age could intentionally molest another pre-school child.
The parents talked to a classmate of their son who also admitted that an elder boy takes him somewhere during lunch break and even recalled instances where the boy slapped and bullied him.
Parents approached the Principal of the school and narrated the story. Parents demanded CCTV footage as the pre-nursery classrooms had surveillance facility. The principal did show concern.
The boy was sent for, and he admitted practicing said behavior on being inquired.
When asked from where he had learned all this, the boy bewildered everyone by mentioning the name of his elder brother, who is a Class III student in the same school. The boy said his brother does the same with him at home.
The staff and the principle blamed greater exposure to electronic devices and the internet for the situation at hand. Free mobile services like Jio 4G has made it easier for children to access inappropriate content, they said.
When asked whether the school has a specific body to deal with such sensitive matters like child abuse and bullying, the Principal said there is no such facility. He admitted that the school does not have a regular child counselor.
When inquired about activities for children regarding awareness about good touch, bad touch, the principle could refer to one such event, and that for teachers only.
Teachers agreed that these children are too small to experience any psychological impact of it.
According to Ranjana Sharma, an experienced child counselor and a Ph.D. scholar in Psychology,
All three children need the attention of a trained professional. The victim child must be observed to dig out the possible psychological impact related to abnormal behavior he was exposed to.
She also suggested that a counselor needs to make a case study of such cases to find out the root cause behind the development of such behavior. The probability that a child has learned it by being exposed to it should never be ruled out.
Children have a new set of psychological problems now. It’s far easier for children to access to variety of information, even unwanted content, today. This access is difficult to restrict, but children can be guided to channelize it.
Moreover, the academic environment in the age of cutthroat competition is extremely hectic and stressful. This psychological stress is normally neglected while considering increasing cases of drug-addiction among schoolchildren.
Child counseling is a time consuming and very subjective matter related to problems that can’t be measured with any meter. The policy makers need to keep up with the need of the hour and think about making provision of child counselor mandatory for all educational institutes,
She further insisted that its well-established fact that family background, domestic environment, and treatment of a child in that particular environment plays a pivotal role in shaping the personality and perceptions of a child.
Most schools conduct regular parent-teacher meetings, which could be used as an opportunity for interaction between parents and counselors. It will prove as a huge assistance to teachers who struggle to deal with children with problematic behavior.