I stay in one of the most sought-after high-rises in Indirapuram. My kids are students of one of the best schools in the locality. While I pack their lunch boxes, bottles, bags, I interact with several school groups on WhatsApp.
Like most parents these days, I have three-four live and buzzing school groups on my phone that help working moms like me to stay connected with school routine — classwork, homework, absent work, projects and general discussions.
Today, after bidding them goodbye, I sat down with a cup of tea, as my phone started buzzing with message notifications — 100 unread messages, more pour in as I unlock my phone. One of the group moms, Suhani (name changed), had shared her concern that her daughter seemed unwilling to go to school since some days. She has been crying a lot and said things like, “I hate school and don't want to go”. This gave her sleepless nights and she is now going through depression. Other fellow moms joined in, and said off late the behaviour of their kids also seemed the same. Suddenly, one of the moms noticed that all the parents showing concern had a girl child.
Another mom, Chandrika (name changed), highlighted the recent rape of a nursery student on the premises DPS Greater Noida. I could feel the tension growing in the group. Everyone poured in with questions like – have you spoken to your child? Why is the child finding it difficult to go to school? Does the teacher scold them? Do they find coping with class work hard? Is someone touching them inappropriately, or is some classmate bullying them?
Everything was asked.
Most group moms had gone through the drill of asking these questions, but remained fearful. Recent incidents with children inside the school — well, you know murder, rape — were giving all of us sleepless nights.
The one question that kept coming back — Is my child safe?
After an hour's discussion, messages went to the class teachers requesting her to check on things. The class teacher, like a responsible and important part of our family, calmed us down and assured that nothing was wrong in class. She said things were OK in class, but the hot and humid weather was making kids feel uneasy. Also, the children were trying to adjust with the concept of class work, hence the behavioural changes.
Everyone eased up a bit and thanked the teacher.
But doubts remained, as the abuse of minors has been headlining too often now. So some supermoms decided to voluntarily visit the school and do a surprise visit — check if they could trust the school and the teachers.
The recent episodes involving children in reputed private schools across Delhi-NCR have raised concerns over the safety of wards within these top-notch campuses. A look back at the last year reveals the sorry state of affairs. It's not that there are no rules, policies or checks, but just policies aren't enough.
So, as parents, we just can’t get satisfied with induction speeches and assurances of the principal and the staff. You need to ask how all these policies are monitored. Talk with your school management, teachers often, and try to enforce open communication.