Schools in the city are sensitizing teachers, non-teaching staff and parents to children’s rights and the law on the protection of children against sexual offenses (Pocso), a measure scheduled with the reopening of campuses for classes in person.
“Since this is a problem of physical space, teachers, non-teaching staff and parents are made aware of the provisions of the law,” said a school counselor.
Teachers were urged to remain vigilant, to be sensitive to children, and to make sure that no child feels uncomfortable. They were also asked to report any untoward incidents.
At one school, two lawyers spoke to employees, explaining the law to them.
North Point Secondary Residential Schools in Rajarhat and Baguiati and BDM International are some of the schools that have organized training sessions.
The Calcutta International School is in the process of finalizing the details of the upcoming session.
âOver the past few months, there has been no face-to-face interaction. So it’s important to refresh our briefs on children’s rights and Pocso, âsaid Rita Chatterjee, director of North Point Senior Secondary Boarding Schools, which hosted sessions on child protection, legislation. and reporting mechanisms.
âWe have invited lawyers to speak because then individuals will be afraid of the law and understand that they cannot get around the law,â Chatterjee said.
School leaders believe that adults should be more careful with children. They also stressed that reporting misconduct is essential.
âWe have a Pocso committee at the school and the teachers have been advised that if there is an incident it should be reported and brought to the attention of the committee,â said Madhumita Seal, Deputy Director of BDM International.
The committee includes representatives of teachers, students and parents as well as monitoring and complaint units.
During a session with the parents, the school alerted them to the warning signs among the children. A child drawing or dreaming of sexual or frightening images, believing their body to be repulsive, or developing an unusual fear of certain places or people should be treated as a warning sign.
Parents were also asked to listen to the child without interrupting if he talks about any violent incident, to build trust through empathy, to encourage the child to speak up and to ask for the professional help if needed.
âAwareness is the key to prevention (of abuse) and also to reportingâ¦. Only when people know about it will they report it, âsaid psychotherapist Farishta Dastur Mukerji.
Dastur Mukerji said that students should also be informed of their rights in a manner appropriate to their age. âIt gives students a tool because they know who to talk to,â she says.