With gender issues in the spotlight, schools in Mumbai are taking stock of what can, and should be done to ensure the safety of their students and to equip them to handle any situation.
A slew of measures are in the making, or in the process of being refined, including gender-sensitivity talks, sex education, security plans and grievance redressal mechanisms.
On Thursday, senior KG students at Podar Jumbo Kids centres in the city will be part of a different kind of drawing session. They will be asked to draw all the news about gender safety that they have been hearing around them."We thought it would be the best way to see how children comprehend the issue," said Swati Popat Vats, director, Podar Jumbo Kids. Students have also been attending sessions on ‘good touch and bad touch’ to make them more aware. "We will also discuss safety issues with our staff. We will organise self-defence classes, if needed," said Vats.
At Amulakh Amichand High School, Wadala, a National Cadet Corp (NCC) instructor has been patrolling foyers ever since classes began last week.
“We decided to be more alert and to keep a check on untoward incidents,” said principal Uma Chaudhary.
Several schools have been talking to the local police to strengthen security measures, and to apprise children of what they need to do. At the NES institutions and at HVB Academy in Marine Lines, police officials have already spoken to students. NES schools have a drop-box for students’ complaints.
Apeejay School in Kharghar is doing something similar. Students can put their questions in a ‘question box’. The principal will be talking about the Delhi gang rape at the school assembly and with students in smaller groups.
“We have to talk to the children to ensure there is no fear psychosis,” said principal Indu Mathur.