Daily Archives: December 21, 2014

To school or not to school?

A pakistani soldier shows members of the media a burnt-out classroom, the day after the Taliban attack on a military school (Photo- A Majeed/AFP)
A pakistani soldier shows members of the media a burnt-out classroom, the day after the Taliban attack on a military school (Photo- A Majeed/AFP)

“Schools must be safe and secure learning spaces. Getting an education is Every child’s right. Going to school should not have to be an act of bravery.” United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon statement delivered during a Security Council meeting on 16 December 2014 after an attack on a school in Peshawar, Pakistan

Going to school is one experience that millions of children across the world have in common. Yet, this so-called place of safety is violating those very rights of a child that he/she aims to fulfill at school. The incidents of last week can happen anywhere, in any school, cutting across class, religion, education, ethnicity and borders.

The numerous violations of children’s rights in school have shattered the collective conscience of people world-over. Schools that are supposed to be safe places for children are increasingly becoming places of the worst kind of violations- terrorist attacks, sexual abuse and physical abuse leading to death.

These events are a harsh reality, a rude awakener and a gory recollection of what remains severely wrong with a society we have created for our children. The issues that pervade our lives are far deeper than we’d like to dig. While the justice system needs to further articulate the role of families, communities and duty bearers, it cannot take away the trauma of a child or bring back a lost life. Therefore, changing laws, organizing candle marches or having closed door conversations is of no significance until every member of society takes responsibility and collectively acts to prioritize the safety of all children.

But if we don’t work on preventing it now…there’s no stopping a repeat of what went wrong last week.

Here’s a compilation of incidents across the world that will strengthen your conviction to ACT!

Peshawar, Pakistan

In the deadliest slaughter of innocent children in Pakistan, Taliban gunmen attacked a military-run school and mercilessly killed 136 students by entering theirschool auditorium on 16th December 2014. The terrorists targeted the 9th-10th grade students, taking revenge on their army fathers. The school today is like a morgue with blood stained desks, chairs and books, signifying lost lives and lost futures.

Read more: http://cnn.it/1xBkUIS

Mumbai, India

The police arrested a 32 year old non- teaching employee of a private school in Bhandup, Mumbai who allegedly sexually assaulted a four year old girl in Junior KG on December 9, 2014, triggering protests by a group of people who vandalised the school property. This case opened a can of worms and horrifying details of sexual assaults in the institution. The survivor said her three other classmates were also sexually assaulted by the non-teaching staff.

Read more: http://bit.ly/1z9hfxg

Baraeilley, India

A 7 year old boy was beaten to death on 16th December 2014 by his teacher in Uttar Pradesh for not doing his homework and not paying his school fees on time. When the school authorities sensed the seriousness of his injury, he was taken to a nearby hospital. His parents were called asked to come to the hospital, while the school authorities tried to escape and not take responsibility for the child or their actions.

Read more: http://bit.ly/16G5Tu0

Texas, USA

Former elementary teacher John Joseph Vasquez was sentenced to 16 years in prison for charges of indecency with two 10-year old girls. Committing the ultimate betrayal by an educator, he has abused them while they were 6 year olds in the first grade. This act of violence by an educator on a student had broken the trust of all students, parents and teachers too, never fully understanding the impact of these actions on students.

Read More: http://bit.ly/1Asyvjg

Devon, England

Briton Simon Harris committed 6 offences of indecent assault against three boys aged between 13 and 14, when he was a teacher at Shebbear College, Devon in the 1980s. Not having
faced any charges at the time, Simon was free to continue absin vulnerable children. Today, he is guilty of preying on Kenyan street children. Convicted of eight charges of indecent and sexual assault on youngsters in Gilgil, and four of possessing indecent images of children, it was the first prosecution to use legislation that allows British citizens to be tried for sex offences committed abroad against children if it is also an offence in that country.

Read more: http://bbc.in/1wCnVGR

Jakarta, Indonesia

Two teachers at the prestigious international school in Jakarta have been charged with multiple counts of rape against three former students. The indictment, contains five allegations of sodomy against Canadian administrator Neil Bantleman and Indonesian teachers’ aide Ferdinant Tjiong, involving three different pre-school aged boys. It’s alleged that the boys were raped in a secret room of the school.

Read more: http://bit.ly/1ve1CDn