Whacking’s how we discipline kids
By Payal Ganguly - HYDERABAD
10th December 2012 10:12 AM
A whack on the head or a pinch on the ears is considered a part of bringing up a child and inculcating discipline by many. The umbrella term of corporal punishment which defines the treatment meted out to children at home across the country, child protection centres and schools do little to highlight the ghastly physical and mental damage it causes.
“A culture of disrespect to children prevails in our society,” observes Shantha Sinha, chairperson of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR). The mindset prompted a teacher to punish a 4-year-old boy at Anaparthi in East Godavari district by forcing him to drink his own urine when the student of LKG, unable to control his urge, relieved himself in a plastic bottle in the classroom. Apart from insulting or discriminating against children, multiple cases of physical injury and death have been attributed to corporal punishment.
On December 1, a teacher caned 10-year-old Koneru Shiva for being absent for two days. The student of DPEP School at Holagunda in Kurnool district was caned mercilessly by his teacher J Veerabhadraiah resulting in a fractured elbow.
“A large number of children drop out of schools after being subjected to corporal punishment or facing discrimination on grounds of caste, gender and other factors. All these come under the ambit of Section 17 of the Right To Education Act which reads that ‘No child will be subject to physical or mental harassment’,” observes Dr Shantha Sinha.
She adds that in a survey conducted by NCPCR, it was found that 97 per cent of school children had been subject to physical and mental forms of punishment.
Often it is easier to take action against government schools which report cases of corporal punishment as compared to institutes run by private managements. “Government schools can be easily held accountable. However, there is a lack of transparency while dealing with private schools. It is usually observed that the school management protects the accused rather than the child. This defeats the purpose of a school meant for children,” says the chairperson of NCPCR.
Incidents of corporal punishment are not confined to just districts. A 15-year-old boy, Mohammed Ismail of Royal Embassy School at Madannapet in Hyderabad, succumbed to fever after being forced to do 210 sit-ups in the class. His parents lodged a complaint with the police and vandalised the school but to no avail as ‘compromise’ is the norm in most of the cases. “A majority of cases do not reach a logical conclusion as most of the parents fear retribution from the managements and their ward being singled out and targeted for further humiliation,” explains Sinha.
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