Teacher – A guide or a tormentor?

Recently a video surfaced online in which a school principal was seen brutally beating his students with a stick. The clip showed students beaten by a cane on their hands and fingers. The incident took place in a convent school, in Fafamau city near Allahabad and the video has since then gone viral.

There are some reports that a few helpless students even fainted after this attack. The principal beat the students until his cane broke. There have been complaints by students that they were regularly beaten by teachers over the slightest mistakes. This was not just a regular teacher beating his students, but the principal of the school. If the principal can stoop so low and set these standards, what can we even expect from rest of the teachers? What’s even more shocking is that a teacher stood by and recorded the video, but did nothing to stop the principal from doing this. He might have later said that he was shocked at the cruelty shown, but he really didn’t do anything to help the students at the time either.

The teacher who recorded and posted the video said that the students were regularly beaten on the pretext of installing discipline in them. I’m sure a lot of us remember our parents often saying that their teachers used to beat them for even the slightest inconvenience and that maybe if we were treated the same way by our teachers, then we might learn the proper discipline and respect for our elders. Look, I’m all for students learning discipline, but is it really the best way to teach them? Moreover, what does it say about the teachers, that think the only way kids could be disciplined is through fear? Fear is not going to make them disciplined; it will just make them submissive until one day they finally crack.

The scars on their body might heal, but the emotional scars will take a lifetime to get rid of. Beating students so brutally isn’t just breaking their bones, but it is breaking their spirit and confidence too. This kind of behavior is conveying to the students that one-step out of line and this is what they will be subjected to. That even if they make a mistake they will not be given a chance to learn from them, but instead they will be taught that lesson forcefully. And if the complaints are to be believed and this indeed is a regular occurrence, than this means that the students learn to believe that if they make a mistake, then they deserve to be beaten.

This kind of behavior is unacceptable from a teacher. A teacher’s role is to guide and mentor the students, to make sure that the students can become the best version of themselves. But it is to be done through love and compassion, not by beating them up.

What’s even worse is that a mother of one of the victims who lodged a complaint against the school was forced to withdraw it after local authorities, the police and the schools pressured her to. This is a clear abuse of their power and how can we expect them to take the required actions against the school and to protect the students from any such attacks in the future, when they themselves are pressuring the parents in taking the complaint back. It seems quite clear where the loyalty of the local authority lies, and it’s not with the students.

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