The murder of a small boy in a prominent school in Gurugram recently left Parul Sahaya, mother to a three-year-old girl, extremely upset. “When this incident happened, it hit me that even big schools don’t have good security. Every time there is an incident of violence against children in schools, it generates public outrage, but unfortunately, a few days later, it’s forgotten. I thought it was time that schools took some responsibility,” says the Gurugram resident, whose daughter is a pre-schooler. “Even while getting my daughter admitted to a pre-school, security was the topmost concern,” says the 35-year-old, who works in the IT finance sector.
On September 9, Sahaya started an online petition on Change.org, asking for periodic safety audits of schools and a regulatory body to keep watch on whether or not schools are complying with safety and security measures. Within four days, it had received 2.5 lakh signatures. It was so successful that Sahaya was made part of a delegation that met Delhi education minister Manish Sisodia. “The biggest success of this petition was the assurance by the CBSE and ICSE that they will conduct safety audits for schools. I also met the Haryana police commissioner who assured that they will be checking security provisions of schools.”
Sahaya hails the power of social media in helping her reach out to strangers. “No one has the time to pick up banners and stand on streets. But everyone is connected to the Internet, at least in urban society… and they don’t mind spreading messages through various social media platforms. It’s a powerful medium that’s helped us in reaching out to the authorities,” Sahaya says.