Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The Shock and the Horror!!

It has been two days and I am still reeling from the aftereffects of the impact recent news articles have left on me. The most upsetting being the news of little Pradyuman, an innocent 7 year old whose throat was slit mercilessly by a bus conductor employed by his school, for resisting sexual assault in the washroom, just minutes after he was dropped at school by his parents. As if this news was not ghastly enough, there were fresh updates about a 5 year old girl raped by a peon in the school in an abandoned classroom. These incidents are over and above the previous two incidents that rocked the parenting community in India where a boy somehow fell into a septic tank in the school premises and died; and another boy allegedly 'slipped' outside his class room and died on spot. The point to be noted here is, all of these deaths took place in Delhi NCR in fancy, reputed schools, which charge exorbitant fees for various facilities including 'state-of-the-art' safety.

These news pieces are the reason why I do not subscribe to newspapers and avoid reading the news online. There is nothing but gruesome rapes and murders and wars and devastation all over the world today, but especially in our country. Not that these kind of reports did not upset me earlier, but being a mother now, I feel far more affected by any reports of sexual, physical, or emotional torture on kids. It is horrifying enough for adults to bear such inhuman acts, but for children, especially little ones 5-6 years old, it's just unimaginable heartache. Their life didn't even start, before it ended. Whose fault is it?

Is it the fault of the person who perpetrates such unspeakable acts against innocent children? Who are these people and why are they allowed to access areas deemed 'safe' for kids? Why are they allowed to be drunk during duty? Why are they allowed to carry weapons? How do they get access to kids in isolation? Do they plan this, or play it by the ear? Are they caught and punished severely enough to prevent further crimes? Are they tagged sexual offenders and prohibited from working around kids for life?

Is it the fault of the school authorities? Why do they talk about CCTV cameras that do not actually work or record? Why do they charge high fees to compensate for more staff and help, which is never around when required? Why do they not adhere to strict safety guidelines within and outside the school premises? How can a kid go missing and no one has a bloody clue where he/she is? Why are they not strict about screening of employees before hiring, and audits/random checks on employees during their tenure? Why do they employ people with no integrity in important positions like security, that the guards allow their 'friends' to walk in without being checked/having a reason to go inside? Why aren't the teachers more vigilant and the principals more concerned or responsible? If any untoward incident happens, why does the school just pass the buck? Why do they make excuses, refuse to take accountability and responsibility? Why do they make us sign consent forms exonerating themselves from all responsibility when they take our kids out?

Is it the fault of the parents for sending their child to school? Few parents can home school and given the ongoing tradition of sending children to 'gurukuls' in India for centuries, it is natural for kids to go to school, to learn, to play, to socialize, and to grow into smart and responsible adults. But is this what we send our kids to school for? To get murdered, raped, assaulted? Whether it be these incidents, or the incident in Lucknow where a teacher mercilessly slapped a student 40+ times for not answering her roll call; or the incident in a fancy Delhi school where a couple of middle school boys bullied a classmate and slapped him so hard, he lost partial hearing from one ear. Are we parents idiots to send our children to such hell holes where they are physically, emotionally and sexually abused? Where do we go? Which school is completely safe? Which city is completely safe? For that matter, which country in the world is a safe place for our kids? And can every parent shift abroad? Or to a different city? If not, what choice do we have, but homeschooling? Is homeschooling easy for everyone? IS homeschooling the solution? 

OR is it the fault of the children themselves? For being born in such a cruel world. For going to school. For trusting their teachers, and staff members. For being hopeful and innocent? What was their fault? That they went to the washroom? That they didn't listen to the teacher, or didn't bow down to a bully? That they wore objectionable clothes or deliberately enticed these despicable men?

I don't know who to blame. I don't know what will happen in the future. I do not know how these parents will live for the rest of their lives. I do not know if the criminals will ever have any remorse for what they did. I do not know when we humans will stop being such horrible fiends. I do not know when the school authorities and staff wake up. I do not know when the government will do something about this. I do not know what will parents do, homeschool or leave the county. I do not know if something will change or we will forget this in a few days and move on. 

I do know, that as a community, as a society, as a species - we have failed our children, EVERYWHERE. We have failed to give them decent food, decent water, pollution free air, safe homes and schools, safe playgrounds, safe LIVES! IF we don't keep our future safe, who will? Or are our lives, especially in a grossly overpopulated country, worthless? These are sad times for humanity, and especially a sad time for a mother like me, who has no way to keep her daughter - SAFE.