CONFEDERATION OF ARUNODHAYA CHILDREN SANGAM
Arunodhaya Centre for Street and Working Children
CHILD PROTECTION DAY – July 16th 2016
In 2004 Kumbakonam school fire accident happened claiming the life of 94 students of the primary section of the Krishna English Medium School on 16 July 2004. The accident was one of the four major fire accidents and largest school accident in Tamil Nadu, and second in terms of casualties for fire incidents in schools in India.
A decade after on July 30, 2014, Thanjavur district sessions court sentenced school founder Pulavar Palanichamy to life imprisonment and fined Rs 51,65,700. Ten others including school staff and officials from the municipality and education department of the state, were sentenced to five year imprisonment. Eleven accused, including three teachers were released from the case.
The Main Reason for the accident is
- The school teachers were not trained properly to handle the situation.
- The school was not inspected by the educational official for three years
- The building laws were not followed as the school had a thatched kitchen and classroom roof, no emergency exits.
- The school did not have fire safety equipment
The Justice Sampath Commission said:
“It was avaricious cruelty on the part of the management to have made so many innocent children sit in the classes under the thatched roof and lose their precious lives. The authorities had been hoodwinked or purchased outright for allowing the management to run three schools where not even one school could be run.”
Even today child protection or the safety of children is a high threat. Children are abused, neglected, exploited at school, house and in the society.
LAWS, POLICY AND PROGRAMMES available in India for child Protection
Policy and Schemes
- National Policy for Children (NPC) , 2013
- Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS)
- National commission for protection of Child Rights (NCPCR)
- State commission for protection of Child Rights (SCPCR)
- District Child Protection Unit (DCPU)
- The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO)Act, 2012
- Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2014
- Prohibition of Child Marriage Act
CHILD ABUSE INCIDENTS AT SCHOOL IN RECENT DAYS
Lack of Infrastructure
Two school girls were crushed to death after a 9-feet wall collapsed on them at their school campus in Besant Nagar, Avvai Illam’s T. V. Ramamoorti Girls School. April 13, 2015.
No Security guards in schools. A six-year-old boy, Sivaram, was beaten to death by his schoolmate who was all of 12 years in a school in Tirupur city. This incident happened at 8 am. Jan 28th 2016.
26 army school student admitted in hospital over food poisoning at Amaravathi 16th June 2016
In the schools that we study the following problems are identified.
- No separate cooking area for preparing noon meals. This poses threat of fire accident occurring.
- No compound wall is constructed in many schools. Sometimes cows and dogs study along with the children.
- A big hall is converted into class rooms without partition.
- Toilet facilities are not sufficient.
- Play ground not available and emergency exit not present in many schools.
Physical abuse by teachers
In Sheba Primary school located in Kaladipet, Thiruvellur a teacher punished a girl studying in UKG, with burnt match stick. Burnt marks were found in her legs. The teacher was dismissed after the child’s parent complained. Feb, 2016
In Seethakaadhi Matriculation school at Nethaji nagar Tondiarpet, A girl studying in UKG was subjected to sever corporal punishment by her teacher Ms Fathima. The child suffered from blood clot in hip and legs. 10th March 2016
A Boy from Kodambakkam studying 10th at Ramakrishna Mission attempted suicide on 24th June as teacher insulted and scolded him as he took leave. The teacher (Ms. Lavanya) smote him with duster and slapped him. The ring in her hand scratched his face.
A Girl from Ennore committed suicide studying 9th Std at Jai Gopal Garodiya, Wimco Nagar as her class teacher spit on her face in front of the class in the year 2014. The teacher was dismissed.
Two students commit suicide in Tamil Nadu – A girl and a boy, who was studying in Class 11 and Class 12, committed suicide in Namakkal and Erode. The reason for her suicide was not known. Jan 21st 2016
A government school headmaster from Ariyalur was suspended for allegedly forcing students to clean toilets and other chores. (Indian Express, June 28th , 2016)
On 7th June, 13 students of a government primary school in Pali village in Villupuram district of Tamil Nadu suffered severe injuries after their class teacher burned camphor powder on their feet to punish them for failing to answer questions. (Indian Express, June,11th, 2016)
From 2015 to 2016, 12 children in our working area committed suicide in a mysterious way immediately after coming home from school but the reason in unknown.
Teachers are not trained to handle children facing sexual abuse and involved in sexual behaviour disorder.
In the year 2014, a girl studying in 8th studying at Sankara vidya Kendhra School committed suicide jumping from 3rd floor in school campus. The reason is unknown.
Vellore Aknaspuram Primary school Headmaster Mr. Karunakaran sexually abused 4th and 5th Std students. He was suspended from the school. (The Hindu, 16th Aug, 2014)
School head master in Dharmapurai government high school was arrested as he was abusing children with abusive words and touching girl students inappropriately. (The New Indian Express, 14th June 2015)
A 30-year-old teacher of Government Primary School in Korakattuvalasu, Namakkal was arrested on charges of sexual assault of school children. On Monday, parents of students of Standards II, and III alleged that S. Duraimurugan has sexually assaulted their children in the school during lunch and sports hours. (The Hindu 6th, April 2016)
Unsafe Environment near School premises
LKG kid from a private school in MRC Nagar, Chennai was kidnapped by one of the van drivers on 25th June 2016. The child was rescued later by police.
A shop located within half kilometers from Chennai Higher secondary school Patel nagar Korukupet was selling chocolates laced with drugs to children.
On 6 July, police arrested 17 people following reports that they were selling ganja-candy to school children in Chennai.
Listing out some of the TASMAC shops located near schools which make easy access for children and cause disturbance for school going children
- Tasmac shop located at Thiruvotiyur is located near Ramakrishna polytechnic school
- Ganja is sold in Rani Annanagar area and slum clearance tenement in TP cithram. Raja Rajeswari school and velankanni primary school is located near this area.
- Tasmac shop located in IOC Powerhouse, Tondaiyarpet Anna nagar is near Angel baby land school
- Tasmac shop located near Alagu Muthu Mariamman Kovil, Korukupet is close to Chennai corporation school
- Near Little flower convent, Nethaji Nagar Tondaiyarpet a tasmac shop is located
- A tasmac shop is located near RR nagar Anganwadi.
- A tasmac is located near kumaran nagar, Tondaiyarpet nursery school
- There are 5 schools located around Taradi Tiruvotriyur Tasmac shop
- A tasmac shop is located near Chennai Middle school, Liftgate AIR site (relocation site )
- All steps for inclusive learning for children with special needs must be undertaken by the government. The government must spread awareness of these programs, so that it reaches the families of children with special needs.
- High quality playgrounds must be constructed in schools and residential neighbourhoods. Certified physical trainers must be appointed to help the children with their activities.
- The government must ensure the appointment of adequate qualified teachers for each class at schools.
- All school should have compound walls for protection of children.
- Basic facilities must be ensured in all Anganvadi centres.
- Complaint box must be kept in all school and the government should ensure that action is taken on the complaints received.
- The government must ensure that all the children learn through their mother tongue.
- The government must ensure that English be taught, as a language in an effective way from the primary school to higher secondary level.
- The government must ensure that according to the provisions of the Right to Education Act, all children, without exception, are provided with free and compulsory education from pre-school until the age of 18.
- The government must allot adequate funds for the safety of children and must ensure the proper disbursal of funds.
- First aid box must be available in every school, and the training of teachers who are able to use it efficiently when necessary.
- Teachers must not use the children for any of their personal work. The government must ensure that severe action is taken again teachers who indulge in such practices.
- Equipment and apparatus in school laboratories must be stored safely. Adequate training must be given to teachers to handle the equipment and in turn the teachers must supervise and educate children about safe usage of lab equipment.
- In case of accident or natural disaster, the teachers must ensure the safety of all the children in the school.
- Counselors must be appointed in all schools. Awareness and counseling must be given on the ill effects of Alcohol.
- The government must ensure clean, hygienic and separate toilet facilities for both genders in schools.
- The teachers must be in school well before children arrive, to give them a sense of security.
- No punishment must be meted out to students in the classroom or in the school premises. Teachers must be trained in positive discipling.
- The toll free number for child safety, 1098,must be displayed on the notice board and children must be educated and encouraged to use the helpline in case of any emergency
Government should announce July 16th as Child Protection Day to promote child safety in all places.
K.Sruthi Virgil D’ Sami
President Executive Director
Confederation of Arunodhaya Children Sangam Arunodhaya