Schools as Safe Spaces : An Analysis of Public Narratives and Policy Actions in Bengaluru

Mehendale, Archana GND; Raha, Swagata

During 2016-18, the issue of child safety in urban, private schools received significant media attention and resulted in protests from parents in Bengaluru. Responding to the instances of physical and sexual violence against children, the Karnataka state administration issued a range of policy measures, including mandatory use of surveillance devices in private schools. This paper examines the ways in which schools are increasingly being perceived as sites of violence and the different meanings the discourse of safety acquires in educational policy. Narratives of child sexual abuse in urban schools in Bengaluru are examined by reviewing four threads: rise of urban middle classes, the emergence and formation of narratives on child safety in schools through media, surveillance as a safety measure and potential and limits of state action. The paper concludes by suggesting the need to undertake additional research in the role of media in reporting school violence; the connections between surveillance and safety; and changing roles of teachers.

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Education and the Urban in India | Working Paper Series

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