School administration often brings about surprise checks to ensure that students are not carrying mobile phones or other such restricted items to the school. One such routine exercise of checking the school bags revealed students of a Bengaluru school carrying contraceptives, cigarettes, and other items prohibited on school grounds.
The inspection team was shocked by the revelation but decided to tackle it from a different angle. As large numbers of students were found in possession of such materials, the school was of the opinion that a positive reform had to be brought in rather than punishing them for it.
Reform From Grassroots Level
Schools have often reported incidents such as the consumption of alcohol and substances despite banning such services at a considerable distance from the school premises. The recent checks landed the officials in a concerning spot with packs of condoms, i-pills, cigarettes, lighters, and other materials confiscated from the students. While a full-fledged plan of action to tackle this issue is not yet in place, the schools have decided to send the children on a ten-day holiday.
Treading carefully for a solution to the problem, they have issued notices to the parents of the students instead of suspending them altogether. Keeping the children's safety and privacy in mind, the management decided to keep information confidential and arrange counselling sessions for the students and their parents. They have also notified the parents to seek professional help externally and look into the matter as the primary caregivers of the students.
The checking was reportedly carried out in schools located on the outskirts of Bangalore. According to a report by the Bangalore Mirror, the contraceptives and cigarettes were found in the bags of Class 10 students. When they enquired about it, the students conveyed that it was a getaway amidst the tight and hectic school schedule.
Official Level Probe
While such instances have been previously reported through routine exercise, the gravity of the recent issue came as a shock to the officials, according to D Shashikumar, general secretary of the Associated Managements of Schools in Karnataka (KAMS). He also added that over 80 per cent of schools held checks, and some were able to come across oral contraceptives (i-Pill) and alcohol filled in water bottles, among other things. The education ministry has, however, not received any form of official complaint regarding the incident.
The Hindu has reported that the Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (KSCPCR) has registered a suo motu complaint after the incident and has directed officers of the Department of Public Instruction to verify with the schools in this regard. The commission has also instructed the schools to provide the necessary counselling to the children and ensure provisions are established to avoid such incidents.
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