Complain about Corporal Punishment through an Email or SMS
(The Telegraph) Students and parents can soon complain about corporal punishment directly to the state government through SMS and email under a separate set of rules meant to ensure that teachers spare the rod.
“We are determined to stop the menace of corporal punishment at any cost. No teacher will be allowed to inflict physical and mental torture on students,” declared school education minister Partha De following a series of meetings through the day to finalise the draft of the proposed rules.
The rules, including “direct government intervention” based on complaints filed by guardians and students with the authorities, will be binding on all schools affiliated to the state board.
The government intends writing to the central boards to introduce the same set of rules in ICSE and CBSE schools, including La Martiniere for Boys where Class VIII student Rouvanjit Rawla was administered corporal punishment four days before his suicide on February 12.
“If they are unwilling to accept our rules, then they will be asked to frame their own set of regulations, to be implemented by the state machinery in coordination with the boards,” said minister De.
The state government has set August as the deadline to formalise the rules, which states that no reason cited for corporal punishment would be considered.
“There can be no excuse for beating up a student. When a teacher is appointed, he/she needs to make a declaration not to impose any kind of physical or mental torture on students. The new set of rules aims to ensure that under no circumstance can a teacher break that oath,” said De.
Earlier, parents and students needed to lodge a complaint with the school authorities before approaching the government for redress. Under the new rules, the government would be able to initiate a suo motu inquiry and appropriate action even on the basis of a media report.
The implementation of the rules is to be monitored by a state advisory council, which will also look into complaints. District-level committees comprising eminent citizens and school committees with representatives of students, teachers and guardians will help the council come to a decision.
Private schools said the government should “use its discretion” while implementing the proposed rules. “It is imperative to ascertain the genuineness of a complaint before pouncing on a school. We agree that students should be heard, but there should also be a body to protect the school,” said Raja McGee, the principal of Calcutta Boys’ School.