In light of recent incidents of schools meting out harsh punishments to students for flouting the institution’s rules, the Maharashtra State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (MSCPCR) has decided to chalk out guidelines.
The guidelines will ensure a school’s code of conduct doesn’t infringe upon child rights.
The commission was hearing a complaint by parents of 15-year-old Rushabh Desai on Wednesday. They had complained that Rushabh felt humiliated when his Peddar Road School forced him to get a haircut in the school premises in September.
The school argued the punishment had been imposed on Rushabh for sporting long hair, which was against the school rules. The rules are published in the school diary which is signed by the parents.
“The school cut the hair of all the boys with long hair. The student was not targeted by the school but was punished alongside 43 others,” said the school advocate.
However, AN Tripathi, member secretary of the commission, said schools cannot impose punishments that violate the students’ rights.
“If the child was breaking a rule, it was the duty of the school to call his parents. They should not have forced a haircut on the child,” said Tripathi.
Observing that such incidents were increasing in the city, Tripathi said there is a need for guidelines to schools on framing their code of conduct.
“The school’s code of conduct has to be in consonance with the law,” said Tripathi. “In India, we are still at a growing stage as far as child rights are concerned. We need to create awareness regarding this among schools.”
The guidelines will list dos and don’ts that schools will have to keep in mind before designing their code of conduct.
The guidelines will also make schools aware of the various child rights that they must protect.
City’s educationists said there is a need for the government to create a code of conduct that schools can follow. Basanti Roy, former divisional secretary of the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education, said the state had formed a panel to frame rules for students and teachers with to protect children’s rights in 2012.
“We had submitted a detailed code of conduct that covered all areas of child protection, but it was never implemented,” said Roy.