Child protection is of utmost priority for schools today and keeping this perspective in mind Ms. Sunita Sehgal, Vice Principal, Hillwood School Gandhinagar organized a sensitization session for the teachers. Ms. Reena Sharma Forensic Psychologist conducted the workshop on ‘Sensitization of teachers on POCSO and their role in child protection' in the school premises recently. Going with the premise that school teachers are few of the closest people working with the children whom the children look up to and trust, Ms. Sharma deemed it essential for teachers to realize that their duty to protect the children does not come to an end once they are out of the school premises. Observation can be the key, and if any indication is noticed that must be reported immediately to the school psychologist in a confidential manner said Ms. Sharma.
In the session, teachers were sensitized about the POCSO Act (Protection of Children from sexual offences) and their role in protection of children, signs and symptoms of the sexual abuse in girls and boys and how to seek assistance from concerned authorities like Management Psychologist and Police. Sharma shared that a child in a class may be a victim of violence/abuse/exploitation that happens outside the school. A teacher cannot ignore it. Rather they must help the child. This too is possible only if they are able to identify that there is a problem and spend time to understand it and explore possible solutions. Teachers were taught how to be more children friendly and approachable.
Ms. Reena Sharma said “ a teacher must create a relationship where children can express their views, concerns, anguish, fear etc. They must try to engage with children in informal discussions. They must be good listeners, and encourage children’s participation in matters that affect their lives. Teachers must focus on building children’s capacities to participate effectively in their own learning path. Teachers must feel free to organize meetings of children with school authorities when needed; they must discuss child rights issues with the parents in the PTA meetings. It’s very important to Say no to corporal punishment, instead use positive reinforcement techniques like dialogue and counseling to discipline children. A child must be considered as a person and their confidentiality is of equal importance as adults and this is school’s responsibility too “
We acknowledge that we as teachers are entrusted by parents, hence its our supreme responsibility to take care of the children,hence our attempt was to empower our teachers with the right resources and make them aware about the change that they can bring in to the system once they are more wary said Mrs. Sehgal Vice Principal.