Schools were once referred as temples of learning in India. With shocking reports of cases of exploitation, harassment & deaths within the school premise, the sacredness associated with schools has got lost.
Schools are no Longer a Safe Haven for Learning and Growth
21st century is considered to be the most progressive stage for our society marked by digitization and globalization. However we seem to be in the most regressive times with respect to safety and security of our children.
Child abuse has many forms: physical, emotional, sexual, neglect, and exploitation. Any of these that are potentially or actually harmful to a child’s health, survival, dignity and development, is considered abuse as per W.H.O.
The trauma associated with abuse can contribute to arrested development, as well as a host of psychological and emotional disorders, that some children and adolescents may never overcome.
Abuse & Harassment comes in various forms on school campuses: Students are made fun of, bullied, teased, insulted, beaten, molested and ridiculed, besides physical fights.
Our newspapers are full with reports of various forms of abuse of children in schools at the hand of students, principals, teachers, and support staff.
To cite a few:
An eight years old girl from Maxfort School, Rohini, Delhi was molested by a teacher for a second time in April 2018. The last time being in August last year within the school premises.
A hearing impaired student studying in a reputed Prabhadevi school for the deaf and aphasic was molested by the school’s principal, aged 42 along with a teacher, aged 37. The victim had named six other students who had gone through the same horrible ordeal.
The 16-year-old student was accused of killing seven-year-old Pradyuman Thakur at the Ryan International School. The teen is accused of murdering the class 2 student of the same school, picked at random, to defer an approaching examination and a parent-teacher meeting.
There have been 18 shootings at schools in the first 45 days of 2018.
Over the past 50 years, there have been nearly 250 school-related shootings across the United States, a Tribune-Review analysis found.
Towards a Safer World: Understanding Dark Personality Traits to Ensure Child Safety
Safety lies as a fundamental right at the heart of a progressive and developed society marked by lack of fear around one’s life & property. If I look at my own education 10 years back I am unable to find any incident where I felt fearful in school premises. However today when you are looking to put your two year old child in school you have to extremely concerned about his/her safety.
After every harassment incident, CBSE issues or revise safety guidelines for school. But is it sufficient to solve the problem. Not really.
We need to understand that these predators that identify children as easy targets are serious offenders, whose behavior is driven by their dark personality trait. Preventing distressing incidents such as harassment, school shootings, favoritism or profiteering requires a shift towards ‘Personality Trait’ based hiring & regular assessment of school staff & children.
Dark personality traits are steady and stable characteristics of a person that if triggered, lead to display of undesirable, counterproductive and destructive behavior, which has a negative impact on the surrounding people (friends, family, coworkers, and customers).
The given three traits combined are called dark traits:
Narcissism (selfish, boastful, arrogant, lack of empathy)
Machiavellianism (duplicity, manipulation, self-interest, and a lack of both emotion and morality)
Psychopathy (lack of empathy, remorse, antisocial, criminal & volatile)
· Make Dark Trait Assessment Mandatory for School Teachers and Staff
· We need to ensure that we make Dark Trait assessments mandatory for all job positions dealing with children in schools, day care, activity centers & juvenile homes.
· ‘Dark Traits’ is the common name for the mixture of three personality traits that, when combined, make a person capable of being incredibly evil without having any compassion for others. The things that a person can do, when they have extreme expressions of dark triad personality type, are horrific when compared to normal average human behavior. A person with severe dark triad traits can commit crimes, kidnap, torture, and kill people, showing absolutely no remorse whatsoever for any acts they have done.
· We need to make it mandatory to administer and test all the staff involved with children on dark traits. A school would not want to hire a driver who scores high on Thrill seeking dimension of dark trait for the children.
· Trait focused hiring of teachers & staff will help us prevent & reduce the cases of abuse, harassment and bulling at school. It will also help establish role models which help student channelize their negative traits into a positive manner.
· Administer Test on Students
· Use dark traits understanding to identify kids who might need coaching or help in managing their behavior. The early knowledge of these traits will help us shape students into good human beings that will use their personality traits for societal well-being. Experts said rampant harassment on campuses underlines the lack of social and emotional learning in Indian schools.
· There is a need to focus on value & community service based education. Schools and teachers have the power of developing strong personalities who would then be capable of taking the reins of the nation’s growth in their hand through service. School is the second home for any child and we need to ensure that our children are safe secure & fearless in their second home. Ensuring student safety by making safe schools a reality is the need of the hour. Hyderabad Public School which boosts of alumni like Satya Nadela, Harsha Bhogle, Karan Bilimoria , Kiran Kumar Reddy, Jaideep Gupta is one such great example of how schools which create a safe and growth conducive environment can nurture global talent.