Odisha: Parents demand for safety & security of their wards after child sexual abuse in Bachpan school, Rayagada

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Report by Badal Tah; Rayagada: After an eight year child reading in Class-III was sexually abused in the local Bachpan school by its Computer teacher named Sri Uday Kumar, the police arrested the culprit on last Monday under POCSO Act. When the child developed skin disease he was taken to a dermatologist in Vizag who suspected unnatural sex with the tiny-tot and appraised the same to the child’s mother that genital warts were warning signs of sexual abuse. After the parents were advised by the doctor to have further investigation, the parents took the child to the Child Welfare Committee at Rayagada where he was counselled and admitted of being sexually tortured by the said teacher for last six months.

The school has taken franchisee of Bachpan and claims having 1000+ schools nationwide. It also claims following CBSE curriculum. That’s why the fees charged by the school is exorbitantly high. Today hundreds of parents gathered near the school to demand and ensure safety of their children. Recently on CBSE has issued new safety and security guidelines for all schools after two incidents of gruesome crimes against young children: one eight year boy was murdered after sexual exploitation and another five year girl was raped.

“The responsibility of safety and security lies solely upon the school authorities. Safety audits by the local police stations, installation of CCTV cameras at prominent and vulnerable points of the school, psychometric evaluation, maintenance of proper records, limiting the entry of outsiders, constituting grievance redressal committees of the public, parents, staff & students, seeking continuous feedback from parents, constituting Internal Complaints Committee(ICC) under Sexual Harassment Act, displaying details of these committees prominently, etc.”, mentions the CBSE’s recent guidelines. Violation of the guidelines will tantamount to appropriate action including disaffiliation.

“Not even one component of the guidelines is followed by the Bachpan School who also has a nomenclature like Academic Height Public School. It is not academic wise high; but certainly fees wise very high. This English medium school has become a business enterprise without any social value. Adding salt to the injury of the parents, the audacity and insensitiveness of the owner towards the parents’ concern is extremely painful. There is an office of District Education Officer(DEO) in Rayagada who is also instrumental in issuing No Objection Certificate(NOC) to these kind of schools adhering minimum quality standards prescribed by the Govt; but unfortunately we have a DEO who is partly looking after Rayagada and mostly Koraput district. In the past, the parents complained near the Collector about the St Xavier High School. There are also complaints galore against Deepti Convent School. District administration’s lackadaisical attitude in handling such serious issues and ensuring the implementation of the CBSE guidelines and constitutional Acts is questionable”, said Sri Rabindra Patakhandal, a prominent RTI Activist and Social Worker of the state.

“After paying a hefty amount we leave our children in schools expecting total safety and security there. The schools are the temples of learning and we believe that our children by spending their prime time of the day will learn etiquettes from the school; but if they return home being hounded, tortured, exploited physically and mentally, we feel so helpless. Though the public and parents have responsibilities to render, it is the state apparatus to ensure that the schools adhere to the constitutional provisions meant for proper functioning of these schools”, said Sri Manoj Kumar Chaudhury, Chartered Accountant & father of a child studying in Bachpan School.

Meanwhile the culprit computer Teacher Uday, who has been denying the charges levelled against him after the arrest, has been forwarded to the court by the local police.

 

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