Published: 19th November 2021
Kovai Education Dept issues instructions to schools after minor's suicide, school heads accountable in case of lapses
The department has also instructed schools to not force students to attend any special classes and any such special classes need to end before 5:30 pm
Following the death by suicide of a minor girl after she was allegedly sexually harassed at school, the Coimbatore School Education Department has sent a circular to all the schools in the district instructing them to set up an Internal Complaint Committee (ICC), among other things, in order to ensure the safety of children in their schools. The Chief Educational Officer, N Geetha, told The New Indian Express that in case schools fail to adhere to the instructions, headmasters will be held accountable.
In the circular, Geetha has directed the school heads to constitute an ICC comprising of parents, female police from their local police station, members of the parent-teacher association and social activists. Speaking to TNIE, she said, "Officials will soon conduct a round of inspection at schools where adherence to all these instructions would be checked. In case of any lapses, school heads will be held accountable and strict action will be taken against them."
Geetha said that headmasters need to ensure that numbers such as that of Childline (1098), School Education Department (14417) and Women Helpline (181) need to be put up on school campuses so that students are well acquainted with them.
She further said in the circular, "Schools need to generate awareness on child rights. This includes the POCSO Act, good touch and bad touch. Schools also need to take steps to conduct counselling sessions for students with the help of psychologists."
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"Private schools should ensure a female helper if a girl student is travelling in school bus. All buses need to be equipped with CCTVs," the circular reads.
The education department has also instructed schools to not force students to attend any special classes and any such special classes need to end before 5:30 pm. "Heads need to ensure a complaint box on school campus. One key to the box will be with the school head and another key will be with the district social welfare department officer," Geetha said in the circular.