Let’s wake up to mitigate it by institutionalizing school counseling services
The ‘stupid’ reason to pull an examination off by murdering a little innocent boy allegedly by a teen as is emerging from the CBI investigations into the Ryan International School, Bhondsi, sensational murder case that took place in school on morning of September 8, must serve as a final wake up call to frame a comprehensive policy framework to deal with the issue of crime in schools. Like ragging, which has been stopped to a great extent after almost everybody stood against it and rallied for its cause a few years ago.
According to data with the Drug Dependence Treatment Centre, AIIMS, a national clinical research body dealing with drug addiction in the country, in Delhi alone an estimated 70,000 children are hooked to drugs. As per law enforcement experts, the menace of drug abuse has grown to such an extent that police is finding it beyond its capacity to handle and knowingly they have to look the other way. Punjab, which has become a brand for drug abuse thanks to the attention it got in last couple of years or so, is not alone. From Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka to Maharashtra, Northeast states and Jammu & Kashmir, consumption of traditional and new psychoactive substances (NPS) is on rise.
In fact, no family rich or poor is immune from drug abuse. It is very much like the cold or flu virus just near you and can catch you anytime unawares. The drug cartels are very organized and always a step ahead. So, society will have to join hands to protect children from getting into this dark and devastating world.
Bullying, which has been traditionally a domain of residential schools though present all over and now cyber bulling are another facets of growing juvenile unrest. Children in particular are very vulnerable to cyber bullying because they are now completely hooked to devices and internet. And, yet again it is an ocean with sharks and we have to live with it. So, let’s be prepared. It will be curious to mention that the enforcement of cyber crime laws in the country are not well understood and there hasn’t been even a single conviction till date.
Well there are other host of issues like school safety, school transport safety, sexual crimes, child labor, etc where children voices are still feeble, but it boils down to a break down in the value system of family and communities. The parents, school community and neighborhood are great influences on this system. An early detection of change in behavior of child can save her or him from getting into an ugly situation.
So, schools, where a child spends as much time as at his or home, must have proper counseling arrangement to tackle the issue of psychological health of teenagers. The government must make such a cadre mandatory on lines on physical educators for all secondary and senior secondary schools. And co-curricular activities including sports must become a must in every school to channelize youth power and build human relationships and good values. Time for such an action plan is overdue.