Naina Jha is the Program and Outreach Officer at Patna. She is a PR professional working with Greymatters Communications. She has worked with hospitals, advertising and PR agencies and has been working with ICWA to educate slum kids since 2005. She has also worked as a freelancer with Gender Resource Centre, Patna. She loves working for the uplifting of slum children and gender sensitisation and wishes to make this society a better place to live in. She is a budding writer, avid learner, traveller, and a happy soul. A sociology graduate who holds a masters degree in human resources, she has a few more degrees up her sleeves but most importantly she is a mother to a beatific little angel.
Community Meet Up with Teachers
On 24th June, Naina Jha organized an informal meet up with a teachers’ community at Eco Park in Patna. She writes,
The reason for meeting the teachers was to have a discussion with them on the concept of safe schools. The idea was to discuss few important points like safe commute and issues like bullying, molesting harassing, abuse and body shaming. Though a small number of participants, it lead to a great discussion. A few other ladies who weren’t teachers also joined us for the discussion. They shared their ideas and expectations of a safe school from a mother’s perspective.
Trina Banerjee, a teacher from DPS School explained that schools play a very crucial role in the overall development of a child. They not only impart education but also shapes the personality of a child. Parents try their best to enrol their children in schools that have good reputations. From there onward it is the responsibility of the school to ensure a safe and secure environment to the children. However, recent data shows that children have faced sexual abuse in the school and also whilst commuting to and from school. This data is shocking and shameful because a school is supposed to provide a secure environment which ensures the healthy development of a child. Trina quoted examples of the ways in which her school ensures the safety of children. Cameras are installed in classrooms, buses and everywhere. Teachers are assigned bus duty and children are handed to parents only after they show their parent card. The school conducts workshops for teachers on how to deal with children. She said that sex education should be imparted to make them comfortable about their own body.
Shipra Soni, a teacher in a leading school shared that school safety is one of the most important issues in education today. Preventing violence on school grounds is important not only for the students but for teachers and the administrative staff’s well-being and retention as well. She said that the decision-makers in schools should focus on creating and maintaining a safe school environment to ensure development of students, teachers and the school itself.
One of the teachers who had joined the discussion said that all necessary steps and precautions need to be taken to ensure the safety of all students. Zero tolerance policies and violence prevention programs need to be instituted in schools. Parents, schools and communities need to work together to take measures to make their schools a safe place.
One of the ladies present spoke about the importance of safety at schools to protect all students and school personnel from violence that included assaults, bullying, victimisation, fights, thefts, body shaming and more.
On being asked why is it important to have safe schools, one participant answered that a safe learning environment is essential for students of all ages. Without it they wouldn’t be able to focus on learning the skills needed for a successful education and future.
Bringing the discussion to a close we all felt the paramount need for safety in schools to ensure and support the academic success of each child, giving them the opportunity to learn and achieve in a safe and nurturing environment.”