Addressing Child Welfare and Teacher Rights: A Balanced Perspective

Dr Arun Prakash

Child abuse, in any form, is a heinous act that inflicts lasting scars on a child’s psyche, often impacting their adult behaviour. Condemning such actions vehemently and imposing severe punishments is imperative to set an example for potential offenders. Countries worldwide have implemented strict laws, but the persistence of these offenses necessitates even stronger measures.
Children, vulnerable and often unable to voice their concerns, can experience various forms of mistreatment, including humiliation, scolding, and physical abuse by teachers. Sadly, many cases go unnoticed until concerned parents or groups raise alarms. Fortunately, the situation is gradually improving as parents become more attuned to their children’s experiences, leading to increased vigilance and advocacy for child welfare.
Tragedies like the case of a 17-year-old girl who took her own life after allegedly facing harassment from her school principal and class teacher, where both were promptly arrested, underscore the importance of conducting thorough investigations and holding those responsible accountable. The private school association staged a protest, asserting that arrests should only occur after a thorough investigation. It is equally crucial to ensure that the rights of the accused are protected, as justice should be fair and impartial.
Another widely reported incident involved a school bus from a prestigious Northeast school allegedly involved in a hit-and-run accident, resulting in the death of a schoolgirl. Initially, the driver and school management were vilified, but CCTV footage revealed a different perspective. The video showed that the accident occurred due to a manhole on the road, not because of the bus driver’s negligence. This incident underscores the importance of relying on evidence and conducting proper investigations before passing judgment.
In yet another tragic incident, an 18-year-old girl took her own life after her elder brother scolded her for excessive mobile phone usage. This case serves as a reminder that not all authority figures, including siblings, have malicious intentions. We must avoid rushing to conclusions and instead prioritize fair investigations.
It is essential to acknowledge that most teachers genuinely care for the well-being of their students. While there are individuals who engage in reprehensible behaviour, they should be identified, isolated, and subject to severe penalties. We must not unfairly cast doubt on all teachers but rather advocate for just investigations and punishment for the guilty.
In South Korea, a series of teacher suicides prompted mass protests by educators who were harassed by parents over trivial classroom matters. The Korean government responded by advocating for laws to protect teachers’ rights and address their grievances. These measures include establishing grievance response systems in schools, restricting direct parent-teacher communication in case of complaints, and holding students and parents accountable for infringing on teacher rights.
It is our hope that we can learn from these examples and strive for a balanced approach in addressing child welfare and protecting the rights of educators. Let us prioritize fairness, justice, and the well-being of our children while ensuring that those who harm them face appropriate consequences.

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