To help kids report sexual abuse, govt to install POCSO boxes in schools in Himachal Pradesh
To curb child sexual abuse in schools and encourage children to speak up against the evil, the directorate of higher education has directed the schools (both government and private) across the state to install Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses (POCSO) boxes, which the students can use to put in their grievances.
The boxes will be opened every week to check the complaints under the supervision of school principals.
This decision came after a national awardee teacher was accused of sexual harassment of students in Rohru sub-division of Himachal’s Shimla district.
To prevent cases of sexual harassment, emergency numbers will be painted on walls of schools. Besides, contact numbers of police, child line, deputy commissioner, national emergency service, hospitals, principal and other officials will also be displayed on the notice board. A budget of ₹500 will also be issued to each school.
Directorate of higher education director Amarjeet Singh said, “The decision has been taken to prevent cases of sexual harassment in schools. Any case of POCSO will be strictly dealt with.”
A parent, requesting anonymity, said, “The administration has failed to protect children from sexual abuse in schools and other educational institutions. It is shameful that students have to go through such kind of things in the schools. The administration should be stricter and should have taken preventive measures.”
CCTVs installed in 164 govt schools
The education department had also installed surveillance cameras in 164 government schools as a preventive measure against sexual abuse of children.
Besides, a special programme to educate teachers about moral and ethics will also be added to teachers training programme. Teachers will be made aware of their responsibilities, duties and relationships between students and teachers. For this, help of psychologists will also be taken.
Eight teachers suspended in HP
As many as eight teachers have been suspended by the education department under the POCSO Act this year.
Recently, a teacher at Government Senior Secondary School, Tikkar, Sanjay Deshta, was accused of sexual harassment by some of his students. Girls had written complaint letters against their geography teacher alleging him of molestation. The case was handed over to the sexual harassment committee, which found the accused teacher guilty. The teacher was booked under section 354 A of Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Section 10 of POCSO Act. He was later suspended.