Alarmed Sangam city schools take proactive steps to stop youths from going astray

Published on Jul 30, 2022 11:46 PM IST

From hiring counsellors to banning mobile phones, city schools are putting in all-out effort to deter the repetition of this incident

School students leaving a school after school hours in Prayagraj. (HT PHOTO FOR REPRESENTATION ONLY)
School students leaving a school after school hours in Prayagraj. (HT PHOTO FOR REPRESENTATION ONLY)
By, Prayagraj

Alarmed by the arrest of 11 students, including 10 juveniles from well-known schools in Sangam city, for their alleged involvement in the illegal activities of students’ gangs, including hurling crude bombs, the city schools have stepped up their intervention efforts to ensure that more youths don’t go off-track.

There was a sense of panic in many of the prominent schools of Prayagraj after the arrests. Many schools have now started taking proactive steps, including counselling, to deter the repetition of such incidents.

Several schools in the city have hired professional counsellors and conducted systematic class-by-class group counselling of the enrolled students, along with enforcing a strict ban on the use of mobile phones in schools. Others have started organising different events like inter-house and inter-class competitions to constructively engage students in their off-school hours.

St Joseph’s College principal Rev Thomas Kumar said his school has hired a professional counsellor and has started class-wise counselling.

“We started with class 9 and would cover all the senior students first. Also, a complete ban on mobile phones was being strictly enforced,” he said.

Rev Kumar said that he has observed that after two years at home owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, the students aged between 13 and 17 were finding it tough to sit in classes at a stretch after the schools switched to offline mode.

“After a proper study, we have also started organising various competitions between different houses and sections of classes to constructively engage them both before and after school hours,” he added.

Similar steps have also been taken at Boys’ High School and College. “After two years of online teaching due to the pandemic, the offline classes have just started in our school, and many students are finding it difficult to cope with the pressure. We have enforced a strict ban on mobile phones for all students. A close watch on students and their activities was also being kept, and messages are sent to the parents if any student is absent,” shared DA Luke, principal of Boys’ High School and College.

He said that professionally qualified and trained counsellors have started counselling sessions with students of the senior section (Classes 8 to 12).

BHS’s academic supervisor CB Luke also blamed the two-year disconnect between the schools and the students as a contributing factor to the students indulging in such acts.

“Proper supervision by parents and elders during this time seems was lacking, and students leaving homes for attending coaching classes but failing to do so have all been a contributing factor. However, as a school, we are taking steps to ensure our students keep away from such acts,” she added.

Ganga Gurukulam principal in charge Madhuri Srivastava said that her school already has two full-time qualified counsellors, who have been allotted regular classes for classes 8 to 12 students. They are also talking to junior classes.

“Through group counselling, the counsellors are looking out for students needing individual attention. They are then given one-to-one counselling. Section coordinators and class teachers are also giving feedback so that stressed or disturbed students can be given individual attention,” she explained.

“The use of mobile phones by students is prohibited on the school campus. Likewise, we do not allow students to come to school on their own two or four-wheelers. Besides underage driving, the fact that our school is located on Prayagraj-Lucknow highway also makes it unsafe,” she added.

Senior superintendent of police (SSP) of Prayagraj Shailesh Kumar Pandey had urged all the school managements to begin counselling students to deter them from indulging in illegal activities and be socially responsible in their conduct.

The appeal followed after the Prayagraj Police arrested 10 juveniles, students of classes 9 to 12 of the city’s well-known schools, along with one youth, an 18-year-old, on July 26 on charges of setting off small explosions using crude bombs in parts of Prayagraj over the past few weeks and months. “Many of them are sons of lawyers, government employees, teachers, contractors and businessmen,” said a police officer, who is part of the district’s special team investigating the case.

The police officer said the incidents of crude bomb attacks were a fall out of rivalries between students of two prominent schools who formed groups named ‘Immortal’ and ‘Tandav’ on social media platforms.

He added that a total of 35 people have been arrested by the Prayagraj Police for the crude bomb explosions during the past month, including minors and other students preparing for competitive exams in the city, who live in private and trust-run hostels, as well as rented rooms.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    K Sandeep Kumar is a Special Correspondent of Hindustan Times heading the Allahabad Bureau. He has spent over 16 years reporting extensively in Uttar Pradesh, especially Allahabad and Lucknow. He covers politics, science and technology, higher education, medical and health and defence matters. He also writes on development issues.

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