V-Day question: Should schools police children?

Youth buy greetings ahead of Valentine’s Day at a store in Bengaluru.

On Valentine’s Day, children are likely to carry gifts and love notes in their school bags, and an association of school managements is out to check the practice. 

Ahead of Valentine’s Day on Thursday, the Karnataka Associated Management of Primary and Secondary Schools had asked schools to monitor students and tell parents to watch out for love merchandise in school bags.

Some schools took it upon themselves to police children and check their bags, while others said trust was more effective in getting children to understand rights and wrongs.

Mariamma Mathew, principal, Oxford Senior Secondary School, JP Nagar, is all for disciplining students at home and also at school.

“We conduct random checks on regular school days to ensure students are not bringing in anything not relevant to academics,” she says.

Pranothi Banwasi, principal, Roots Academy, says her staff checked if students were bringing in anything for Valentine’s Day.

“We regularly send out emails to parents on special days or outing days advising them to monitor what children are taking to school. We observe student behavioural patterns and do not encourage practices connected to Valentine’s Day,” she says.

A non-intrusive approach is the way to go, says K S Jyothi, vice principal, The Samhita Academy. The school did not initiate any checks on Valentine’s Day.

“Checking students on just this day or monitoring them will not change anything. At school, we encourage students to understand the ‘why’ of different situations,” she says.

The school conducts sessions to help children understand infatuation, attraction, and gender sensitivity.

“We have continuous and open conversations and help our students understand. An empathetic approach is best,” she says.

She believes it is important not to treat children’s feelings as frivolous.

Aloysius D’mello, principal at Greenwood High School, banks on tech.

“When students board a bus, they swipe a card which alerts the parent and school. The same system is used to make sure children get off at the right spot on the way home,” he says. 

It is important for parents to make time for their wards. Interacting with them openly makes things easier for both, he says.

Most young adults and teenagers today are mature and know what to do and what not to do. The best way to educate and monitor them is to keep channels of communication open and not trivialise their feelings. Treating them as adults helps in strengthening their confidence.”    

Anukta Sharma, a child counsellor and psychiatrist.

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V-Day question: Should schools police children?

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