Kolkata school molestation: Parents use social media to back each other up


KOLKATA : Sanjoy Mukherjee, whose kids study in a south Kolkata school where a student was sexually abused by two PT teachers around two months ago, got to know about the fresh child abuse allegation through a WhatsApp group message on Friday afternoon. The group has 16 other parents who are part of an executive committee of the school guardians' forum. Mukherjee, the president o f the group, decided to act immediately.
This is just an example of how WhatsApp groups and other social media forums are evolving into platforms for guardians to keep tabs on their children and their schools.
"It is shocking. We discussed it in our WhatsApp group and decided to meet the parents of the school where the fresh incident occurred," Mukherjee said. The online guardians' forum was formed late last year, after a similar allegation rocked the south Kolkata school. The parents' group in WhatsApp, Mukherjee says, was their chosen mode of communication.
"We have applied for a formal registration under The West Bengal Societies Registration Act, 1961. We hope to get the formal letter on Monday. We have already formed a 32-member governing body and a 17-member executive committee. All committee members are parents. Once we get the approval, we will meet the school authorities with a plea to be recognised by them," he said.
On Friday, the abused child's mother told police that after she came to know about the incident from her daughter, she discussed the issue with some fellow parents on a WhatsApp group. After discussions, they decided to meet the school principal on Thursday. The mother said she found strength from other parents since her husband was travelling for work. It wasn't the end. With the discussions with the principal turning futile, she spread the word on WhatsApp groups, leading to the spontaneous protests before the school on Friday.
Deepsikha Dutta, who was part of the protests, said they needed to form a guardian's forum. "We were discussing in the WhatsApp group for parents about the pros and cons. The school is shutting us off. I think we will form a forum to ensure our children's safety," she said. She wrote as much in the WhatsApp group.
In other groups, concerns kept pouring in about their children's safety in school. Nilima Kothari, whose child studies in Class IV, said, "I keep checking the messages. The parents are very empathetic."
courtesy from Times of India