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SDMC school teachers to educate parents on POCSO Act at mega PTM

By Baishali Adak
UPDATED ON JUL 24, 2019 11:44 PM IST

New Delhi

The South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) has decided to educate parents of students in its schools about the POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Act during its ‘Mega Parents-Teacher Meeting’ (PTM) scheduled to be held July 28.

SDMC officials said they aim to sensitise parents about sexual offences against children and assure them of support in any such eventuality.

The meeting comes at a time when the Parliament is deliberating on amendments to the POCSO Act. The Rajya Sabha on Wednesday passed a bill entailing amendments to the POCSO Act by including death penalty for aggravated sexual assault on children, besides providing stringent punishments for other crimes against minors. The bill would now be send to the Lok Sabha for approval.

“Our students come from small urban villages, unauthorised colonies and slums, where sexual offences against children are reported often. We keep an eye on symptoms of abuse in them — for example, stopping coming to school, displaying withdrawal symptoms, or becoming emotional or violent for no reason. The idea is to sensitise parents about these issues,” Supriti Chawla, a teacher at SDMC’s Nigam Pratibha Vidyalaya, Rajouri Garden South, said.

“This time, we decided to talk to the parents about the POCSO Act and the powers and punishments it confers. For example, if they get to know that their child has been abused, whether within the family or outside, they must report it to the police or childcare helpline 1098. If they don’t, under sections of the POCSO Act, they can jailed for six months,” she said.

The civic agency will hold a session for the parents in all its 581 schools during the PTM. The schools have been directed to make posters to make kids aware about ‘good touch and bad touch”.

“This is our third Mega PTM and the theme is ‘Umangon Ki Udaan.’ An estimated 5 lakh parents (mother and father) will attend the sessions and we want to talk to them at length,” said Nandini Sharma, chairperson of the SDMC education committee.

SDMC runs 581 primary schools, running classes from nursery to class 5. About 2.38 lakh children between the age group of 3-11 years study in these schools.

The SDMC has held such Mega PTMs only twice before, earlier this year and in year 2018. Last time, the theme of the Mega PTM was ‘raising the girl child responsibly.’

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