Human Rights For Our Kids

Because it is just as damaging as other sad, pathetic, inhuman, criminal acts carried out in the name of discipline - Manoj & Priya

Manoj & Priya

We too have taken our son out of school only last week and have begun home schooling him. His happiness says it all. What sealed it for us, while we were thinking about it for a while now for very good reasons, was that last month after eating school food, he came home and started vomiting and did not stop for more than 24 hours. They served them Methi Mattar Malai on that particular day… appropriate food for children, especially in this weather? We don’t think so, but that’s only our opinion.

Finally when injections did not work, he had to be hospitalised and was in the pediatric ICU for a few days where IV medication, electrolytes etc were given and it still took a few days for it to work. When we informed the school director through an sms while he was in hospital all she replied with was – “I hope he gets well soon.” That’s it. No call till date to find out how he is.. His class teacher was not informed either and she finally called to find out where he was since he was absent for more than a week .

Even after we gave a letter saying we are withdrawing his admission, the class teacher was not informed and the principal/counsellor/director of this school with a “holistic approach” have still not called to ask if he’s okay – just one human being to another…

He’s only in the 3rd grade so he’s still got a few years to go to undo all the damage like where he was made to pull his ears exactly as directed by the music teacher (“pull it harder so you can hear how badly you sing!”) , in music class, because he was not “singing correctly” and him crying made no impact on the “teacher” or being told to “get out” of art class because he kept some material in a wrong place by mistake, said sorry many times, but apparently it was an unpardonable mistake… this is an eight-year-old we’re talking about. A lot of this info came out while he was lying in bed in the ICU… and there’s a lot more….

These are details yes, but we are sharing it because we feel it’s important in light of the latest order by the NCPCR that teachers better be ready to have an FIR registered against them for corporal punishment or even calling a child stupid, mindless etc..(TOI - Aug 10). This can be seen online in the e-paper if you have not seen it already… Does this kind of humiliation also come under the purview of this order… because it is just as damaging as other sad, pathetic, inhuman, criminal acts carried out in the name of “discipline”… how effective will the order be? But more importantly what are the state education departments doing as these incidents (a child dying or being chained) should not be taking place at all. These are children we’re talking about! Where are the checks? How do private schools that don’t have even the basic infrastructure thrive? how do people who don’t have the requisite qualifications/mind-set become teachers in these schools? And we’re not talking about children being subjected to this torture in local municipal schools alone, the higher the fees the more subtle the humiliation, children are not spared. How does this prepare them for adult life? How can people who hate children this much become teachers? We are not generalising at all, naturally we’re speaking about our experiences, wishing they were different. Yes there are plenty of teachers who genuinely care and are very good but they are outnumbered by the ones who don’t. We’re glad that at least this order is in place… Children’s rights finally being considered human rights is good but why was it any other way in the first place? Do teachers need laws in place to stop them from being cruel to children? We are not disconnected from reality or being naive, it’s just a basic, simple thought…