Who's Responsible for the Alleged Suicide of a Class 10 Girl? Parents, Students of G.D Birla Don't Blame School
Is it really possible for a teacher to keep a track of every single child in a class of approximately forty to fifty students?
Pandaemonium erupted in Kolkata when a young student allegedly committed suicide in the bathroom of her school. She was found in a pool of her own blood, with a plastic bag around her head. The forensic team also revealed that a three-page suicide note had been found with her body. The letter mentioned how she had been suffering from depression and had been unable to sleep for three months.
Soon after the incident came to light, a flurry of forwarded messages on WhatsApp claimed that the school has shirked all responsibility; some posts on social media also cried negligence on part of the school.
"This is completely unexpected from the girl. I have seen her grow up, I never thought she would do something like this," said a senior teacher of G.D Birla Centre for Education, where the class 10 student was found dead in the washroom with her wrists slit on Friday.
"If she has blamed peer pressure and family pressure in her note, how can we blame the school for this?" she asked.
While the social media messages blame the school, teachers say that it's not possible to keep track of every single child in a class of approximately forty to fifty students
"Of course, we will investigate the incident and get to the bottom of it. I am feeling scared for the other students. How are we supposed to teach like this?" one of the teachers told News18.
A parent of a class 10 student of the same school, who is a teacher as well, said that it isn't right to blame the teachers for the incident. "I can assure you that it is impossible for a teacher arriving in class in the seventh period to understand if someone has been missing since the sixth period. Unless the students inform me, how am I supposed to know? I don't think it's right to blame the teachers here."
However, as a parent, she said she is feeling 'insecure'. "School is supposed to be a safe haven for our kids. If the girl had committed suicide at home, we could have blamed the parents for negligence on their part. But this happened in school, right under the teachers' noses," she said.
The students, too, don't think the school should be blamed. "How were they supposed to know something like this would have happened? I don't feel unsafe at school, there's no reason to," said one of the students studying in class 10 of G.D Birla.
In her note, the girl blamed peer pressure and family pressure to excel as one of the primary reasons why she was driven to take such a drastic step. For a student preparing for her board examinations, the burden to score high marks may very well have taken a toll on her mental and physical well-being.
"I have been dealing with such peer pressure all my life. Every time it feels unbearable, I speak to my mother, " her classmate said.
Ahana Sen, an ex-student of the same school, believes that social media may have been instrumental in pushing the girl to the edge. She said, "When we were in school, we didn't really know what 'peer pressure' was."
To say that the school has not taken requisite measures would be wrong. There is a counsellor who is available for sessions during school hours. Students with symptoms of mental illnesses or behavioral problems are encouraged to seek help.
The incident has left many, scared.
A parent of a class 4 student said, "Our children are beginning to feel suffocated with one incident after the other happening in the school." She was referring to the molestation of a four-year-old in the same school in 2017.
"The proximity to such events is taking a toll on young minds. They're being monitored closely at all times, which is leading to their freedom being curbed," she said.
She said that while the teachers are vigilant and keep a tab on their students' activities in a class of fifty, one cannot expect the teachers to individually supervise each student. "Class strength needs to be reduced," she added.
Another parent, whose daughter graduated from G.D Birla in 2013, said, "The fact that children aren't able to open up about their problems to their parents or teachers is why they are being rendered vulnerable. Everyone needs someone to talk to. If there's no one to lend an ear, where will the kids go?"
Instead of playing the blame game, one needs to really grasp the crux of the situation here. A young student ended her life because she decided she didn't want to live anymore.
As one of the parents commented, a child may not necessarily be able to express the turmoil nurtured within them.
Who's responsibility is it then? Who is to blame here? The question answers itself.
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