Kerala child rights panel demands physical education guidelines for students’ safety

The Kerala State Commission for Protection of Child Rights has issued a directive to the State government to come up with a set of guidelines for the safety of students during physical education training in schools.

The directive comes in the wake of several cases that came to the notice of the commission in which students were physically, mentally and sometimes sexually abused by physical education teachers. The commission member B. Babitha has asked all government sections, including the education department not to appoint people who have been accused of sexual abuse against children to positions where they have to interact with kids.

It was an incident in Kattipara near Thamarassery here almost a year ago, in which a physical education teacher was arrested for raping a girl student that led to this directive from the commission. After analysing the progress of the case on Monday, the commission directed the Thamarassery police to complete the investigation on the case and submit the charge sheet at the earliest. The commission also directed the school manager to complete the departmental inquiry into the incident and take further action.

Babitha said that though it was the complaint filed by Bijoy K. Alias, an advocate, that was the immediate trigger for the directive, the commission had received similar complaints from different parts of the state. “It was high time we had clear guidelines for physical education in schools,” she said.

The commission has suggested that a female teacher should mandatorily be present for the physical training of girls and that their sports hostels should have an all-women staff. A female teacher or parent should accompany the team when girls are taken to far-off places for competitions or training. The physical education teacher should behave in a child-friendly manner and if any violation is found, there should be departmental action including prosecution.

Meanwhile, the commission also suggested the formation of a complaints committee in schools, consisting of the headmaster, students involved in sports activities, their parents and the school counsellor. Also, any complaints of sexual abuse raised in these committees should immediately be handed over to the police.

The commission has asked the authorities concerned to submit a report on the action taken based on this directive within two months.

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Printable version | May 17, 2022 9:24:55 pm |