June 15, 2007

Touch Me Not- Schools Ban Touching

Kaveeta Kaul

India is in a state of extreme confusion…as yet undecided on the one issue that is the national obsession, namely ‘sex’.While the average citizen seems to have attained adulthood considering the relaxed disposition, not going into a frenzy every time the ‘words’ mentioned, our politicians who have recently donned the mantle of moral custodians, are struggling between the Middle and Dark ages, frothing at the mouth, incensed over Valentines day, huddled couples on the sea front and so on.

Rather contagious, presumably, this sudden obsession with controlling public behaviour. The schools have caught on the viral.

So school children have henceforth been directed to be off bounds from each other.

By a new directive, flashed all over the television channels, schools such as Jamnabai Narseemonji, and Vibgyor (?) have passed a regulation that does not allow boys and girls from having any bodily contact holding hand, hugging etc.
This is absurd..just what do they hope to achieve? By striking out such a ridiculous ‘lakshman rekha’ these officiandos are in fact screamingly drawing attention to the divide between the two. Its not as if the kids were resorting to objectionable activities in the school premises! What happens after school hours? what if they, in vengeance decide to make repair for lost time ? Who /what can control them then? And whatever does pull the reins in then, would/should do so in school as well…namely? Coming to that in a mo!

I bet the kids, previous to this idiotic directive may have not bothered to train their thoughts along these lines.. Preeti, Pinky, Manasi , Manini may have been viewed as chummy as Ajay, Deepak, Ashok ..Peers are often just peers!

Look, this is a matter of family grooming, and personal conduct. There logically are more incidents of violence and harassment, in an environment that is unduly strict. We ought to bring up our kids with values intact, a strict moral code, set by example.

Be.. what you would like your children to be.

In a milieu where youth is open to various influences, from the net, media, cinema, Tv, it is only and only upbringing that can provide the necessary checks and balances which ensure responsible advent into adulthood.

Such debasing regulations only insidiously suggest to a child that he is in a prison like set up where he is under the scanner since his trustworthiness is suspect!! What a bummer! And moreso when the parents themselves are agreeing vociferously.. ‘yes yes.. please teach our child how to behave” is what their assent suggests!! I guess the parents need growing up more than the kids!

There are two schools which have been vying for top honors since..forever.Jamnabai and Maneckji Cooper..they have always been at loggerheads..a kind of healthy competition where alumni from each believed their alma mater to be the best. Maneckji Cooper was my alma mater, as also my daughter’s! I fervently hope that this strange rule is not adopted by my school.

When we treat children like adults, patiently point out the good from the bad, sift out desirable behaviour from that which is undesirable, inculcate a sense of healthy respect for the opposite sex, and provide sensible sex education classes where the importance of caring, love, respect, culminating in marriage, is imparted, there will be no requirement for laws which say ‘dont touch me because I am a girl’!! As if by not touching, a devious mental construct, if already present is going to instantly vanish!! And as if a good natured hug, or holding hands meant the kid had sex on his mind!! Its incredibly insane this rule.

One would have liked to believe that schools were the space where children found their inner strength, discovered their talents, grew to realise their potent capabilities which would enhance their self esteem…all of these factors so essential in shaping the final product, that of a healthy adult, ready to take on the world and the challenges it throws up. None of this can be achieved by belittling their own sense of right and wrong!!

Schools ought not to take over duties which parents ought to carry out responsibly. I remember opting to study in an all girls college ‘Sophia’s, despite holding a distinction and a precedent in my family of studying at St. Xaviers.. my sister and even my Uncle passed out from Xaviers. But I was adamant.. It was a choice that my father was so amused by, that he requested me to think over, again and again. But I was happy with the decision..It turned out to be a right one.. I topped the college all through and the University in my Final year. this was because it was a personal decision, not one enforced on me.

Lets dignify our upbringing by providing our children with dignity and respect, no matter their age. One can be astonished at just how well they would respond. Instead these schools are making them believe that they consider them little better than animals, who need to be put on a leash..

Disappointing, to say the least!!..Tsk.. tsk

The only moral lesson which is suited for a child, the most important lesson for every time of life, is this: “Never hurt anybody.”..Dennis Breeze.

If he gets this one right, he will do no wrong !!

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  1. andaaz apna apna

    Comment by Aneesh — June 15, 2007 @ 4:08 pm | Reply

  2. Lol..the comment by one of the mothers “Un logo ko abhi se hum agar in batoon ki soth de de, toh woh kahan par jake end hoga that’s beyond our imagination”.

    soth..meant chooth I think..chooth for what ..maybe hugging a friend. I seen more girls do this to boys than boys..and whats wrong with that? She seems totally lost as a parent..Kahaan pe jaake end hoga she is saying as if this guy is leching after the girls and even if he is then she is to blame.

    A friend of mine passed out from Narsee. She used to crib about the filmi children there..almost everyone was a star child. In the house and in mags when they see and hear their fathers oggling at starlets obviously these kids are going to have a one track mind. So even if they stop hugging girls in school is it going to make any great difference in the way they think about girls? No waaay!

    Comment by Neha — June 15, 2007 @ 4:31 pm | Reply

  3. This is a bit too much.Not necessary. But what really worries me is the “Child abuse” happening in the rural/ urban india …we have to do something on this , i believe this is very serious issue not taken seriously in our country.

    Comment by Nitin — June 15, 2007 @ 4:34 pm | Reply

  4. Nicely written! Couldnt agree more. Its just a perverse act that the politicains put on.

    Comment by Atmdeo — June 15, 2007 @ 10:49 pm | Reply

  5. Aneesh..haan..lekin unka yeh andaaz kuchch pasand nahin aaya.

    Neha, oh yes teach by example. You show me a spoilt brat and I will show you doting parenting, as also neglect and illiteracy as to a childs needs. It might have been a better idea to hold counselling for children whose behaviour is disturbing as well as for the parents of such children, in sync..that could have presented a positive solution.

    Nitin.. Hmm. I agree. have you read this :

    There is only so much one can do and besides that pray fervently for a world filled with love and peace.


    Love your name..Lord of the Soul! 🙂

    Comment by kaveetaakaul — June 16, 2007 @ 12:04 am | Reply

  6. Succinctly put!! Well done.

    All they are doing is imposing their skewed mindset on youngsters!!

    Comment by dilip — June 16, 2007 @ 12:13 pm | Reply

  7. Yes dilip, imposing our mindset on children innocent of conjectured abnormalities..How fair is that?.

    Comment by kaveetaakaul — June 16, 2007 @ 5:35 pm | Reply

  8. This is the most absurd thing the administration could have come up with. I have just passed out from a co-ed school. And I find it abominable that a friendly handshake should be banned as inappropriate.

    Comment by Lekhika — June 20, 2007 @ 9:27 pm | Reply

  9. You tell ’em girl!!

    Comment by kaveetaakaul — June 21, 2007 @ 4:12 pm | Reply

  10. Touch Me Not- Schools Ban Touching

    Co-ed schools enforce rules whereby kids not allowed to touch each other! Why?!

    Trackback by Anonymous — July 10, 2007 @ 4:53 pm | Reply

  11. There should be touching in school because kids need high5s, hugs to cheer them up and to know that they have friends. This period of their life they need to know that they did good or something else.

    Comment by Bob — February 8, 2008 @ 1:16 am | Reply

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