Bangalore:Â Â Angry parents on Thursday protested outside the Vibgyor International School for hours demanding that the school take responsibility for their children’s safety. They are protesting against the alleged rape of a six-year-old inside the school premises.
The school’s chairman, Rustam Kerawala, came out and promised more security. “We will install CCTVs and ensure background checks of staff,” he told agitated parents, many among them working in Bangalore’s booming IT sector.
Protesters tried to push through the gates of the school as a heavy contingent of police tried to restrain them. Broken glass was also seen during the protests.
On July 2, the six-year-old child, a student of Class one, was allegedly raped by two gym instructors during school hours. The incident was reported a week later and the alleged attackers were arrested but parents say the school should own responsibility for failing to protect the child.
The anger has snowballed with many schools in the city declaring that they can’t be held responsible for the child’s safety has led to even more rage. They have asked parents to sign a form agreeing to this.
The form says when a child participates in events organised by the school – including field trips, excursions and camps – the school’s staff or teachers can’t be held responsible for “damage to loss of property, sickness or injury from ‘whatever source’ legal entanglements, loss of life or money…”
“We collectively refuse to sign such a form,” a parent said, adding, “My child spends 6-7 hours in school. I am at work. If the school doesn’t protect her, then how can I send her to school?”
This is the second incident this month that has raised questions about the safety of children in schools in one of India’s most cosmopolitan cities. Last week, another six-year-old in another school was picked up from school by her own aunt who later murdered her over a family dispute.