Published: 26th July 2022
Tamil Nadu sees fresh cases of students taking the extreme step. What can be done to help?
In some other parts of the state, allegations of teachers beating up students and parents protesting against it by staging demonstrations have also been reported following the Kallakurichi incident
In Tamil Nadu, it was reported that a girl school student ended her life and another student jumped from the top floor of her college. Several cases of young students resorting to extreme measures are being reported in Tamil Nadu.
In Tiruvallur district, a 17-year-old Class XII student was found hanging in her school hostel on July 25 and the police immediately transferred the case to CB-CID. The deceased students' relatives and villagers staged a protest, as stated in a report by PTI.
On the same day, at Vikravandi in Villupuram District, a first-year BPharma girl student fell to the ground from the first floor of her college. The police informed that this is suspected to be a suicide attempt.
It may be recalled that on July 13, a 17-year-old Class XII girl student died by suicide in the hostel of a private residential school in Chinnasalem's Kaniyamoor area, about 15 km from district headquarters Kallakurichi. Since the family suspected foul play, violence broke out.
In some other parts of the state, allegations of teachers beating up students and parents protesting against it by staging demonstrations have also been reported following the Kallakurichi incident.
Director of state-run Institue of Mental Health, Dr P Poornachandrika, pointing to recent incidents involving suicides, said that such copycat behaviour should be halted by following guidelines.
All stakeholders, including schools, colleges or parents, should keep a watchful eye on suicidal tendencies and take timely steps to prevent it, she told PTI.
They should interact with students and inform them that help is available to address any problems they may face. Resorting to extreme measures is not an option at all.
On its side, the government is implementing several measures to ensure positive mental health among children and others should join hands in the initiative, she said.
A parent said many schools still continue the practice of corporal punishment or exert 'unacceptable pressure' on students only to produce 'excellent results'.
Requesting anonymity, he claimed teachers on most occasions are in a tearing hurry to complete the syllabus and do not take care to see if students have really understood the subjects that were taught.
A teacher of a reputed city school said both the teaching and student community are "today facing a pathetic situation".
For the past two years, students were confined to their homes due to the pandemic. They were promoted to higher classes with bare minimum effort on their side. They had reduced syllabus.
"Most of the students spent this time in leisure. Now, it is not the case. They have full portions. They have to attend physical classes," the teacher, who has over 25 years of teaching experience said.
Though schools reopened only on June 20, teachers have to cover the entire syllabus.
"Now we are starting the tests as well. If students do not match expectations, we have little option other than chiding them."
He also admitted that a section of teachers still resorted to corporal punishment to 'discipline' students.
"The educational authorities should have gradually increased portions. So, this is the plight of students and teachers and it is due to the apathy of authorities," the man, who teaches in a school that is over 150 years old, said.