Need Counselling: ‘Bois Locker Room’ a Wake-Up Call for Schools?
Eminent educationist Lata Vaidyanathan explains what schools can do to avoid another ‘Bois Locker Room’.
Video Editor: Purnendu Pritam
Are schools paying enough attention to counsellors? How can students be made aware of cyber laws and risky online behaviour? Do we need to take a re-look at sex education? Eminent educationist Lata Vaidyanathan and Director of Gyan Bharti School, Saket, explains how schools can learn their lessons from the ‘Bois Locker Room’ incident.
Is there need for greater counseling in schools?
“There is a whole socio-emotional aspect to it and therefore, there are counsellors in schools. I have always felt that helping children grow up with all their anxieties, with all their curiosities, and with all their experimentation, must be supported and looked after by school counsellors. The school counselling periods, plan, policy and programme in school must essentially be treated like a math period or a language period, it should not be just a kind of period in which nothing specifically happens, it's too generalised and there is no programme.
So, I think this has to be further accompanied, periodically, by including all stakeholders in training, be it teachers of all classes other than the counsellors, and inclusive of the counsellors. Talks by experts to parents and also, by and large, programmes, music, dance theatre, which can bring out all these emotions and make sure that the whole programme is well understood and children are well-educated.”
How can students be made aware of cyber crimes?
“Cyber experts are coming into schools and talking to children about cyber crimes. This is almost treated as a cyber crime. It involves the police, it involves the law, the systems. There are reprimands, there are punishments, there are juvenile positions. I think there are a whole lot of systems involved in this and I think it's important that people are also educated about it, it's not just enough if the school children know about it through a lecturer or two. But periodic, repetitive instructions must be given, must be highlighted, saying that involving yourselves in matters which go beyond curiosity into acts which are not acceptable behaviour in school, will lead you to the crime cell and the repercussions of the same can impact you so badly that it would scar your lives.”
Are parents talking enough about sex education?
“When it comes to the parents, generally discussing sex is a taboo at home. I can tell you for sure that even within schools, there are parents who will come and tell you it is nice that you discuss all these things with your children, can you please discuss with girls separately and boys separately and it has always been my take that yes there are certain things we need to discuss separately but by and large the sensitivity of how women must be treated with dignity or how you help the girl children in school.”
Punishment or reform?
“The word punishment sometimes can finish-off people – both the boy and the girl. And when I use the word finish-off, it can scar them for life. The ultimate question for an educator is, do we want to help them, do we want them to rise from there and behave as normal people and lead their lives, or are we going to leave them completely unguarded for the rest of their lives?”
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