A girl school student ending her life and another student falling to ground from the upper floor of her college in Tamil Nadu are a pointer to repeat incidents involving young students resorting to extreme measures.
In Tiruvallur District, a 17-year old Class 12 student was found hanging on the premises of her school hostel on July 25 and police quickly transferred the case to CB-CID while relatives and villagers of the deceased girl staged protest, batting for justice.
On the same day, in another incident at Vikravandi in Villupuram District a first year girl student of B Pharm fell to the ground from the first floor of her college. It is suspected to be an attempt aimed at suicide, police said.
The incidents come against the backdrop of violence witnessed on July 17 in Kallakurichi district in the state following the death of a girl student.
The 17-year-old girl was studying Class 12 in a private residential school in Chinnasalem's Kaniyamoor area, about 15 km from district headquarters Kallakurichi. She was found dead on July 13 on the hostel premises.
The teen, an inmate of a room on the third floor of the hostel was suspected to have ended her life by jumping to the ground from the top floor.
In some other parts of the state, allegations of teachers beating up students and parents protesting against it by staging demonstration have also been reported following the Kallakurichi incident.
Director of state-run Institue of Mental Health, Dr P Poornachandrika, pointing to recent incidents involving suicides, said that such copy cat behaviour should be halted by following guidelines. All stakeholders, including schools, colleges or parents, should have a watchful eye over suicidal tendency and take timely steps to prevent it, she told PTI.
They should interact with students and inform them that help is available to address any problems they may face. Resorting to extreme measures is not an option at all. On its side, the government is implementing several measures to ensure positive mental health among children and others should join hands in the initiative, she said.
A parent said many schools still continue the practice of corporal punishment or exert 'unacceptable pressure' on students only to produce 'excellent results'.
Requesting anonymity, he claimed teachers on most occasions are in a tearing hurry to complete the syllabus and do not take care to see if students have really understood the subjects that were taught. A teacher of a reputed city school said both the teaching and student community are 'today facing a pathetic situation'.
For the past 2 years, students were confined to their homes due to the pandemic. They were promoted to higher classes with bare minimum effort on their side. They had reduced syllabus.
"Most of the students spent this time in leisure. Now, it is not the case. They have full portions. They have to attend physical classes," the teacher, who has over 25 years of teaching experience said.
Though schools reopened only on June 20, teachers have to cover full syllabus. "Now we are starting the tests as well. If students do not match expectations, we have little options other than chiding them." He also admitted that a section of teachers still resorted to corporal punishment to 'discipline' students.
"The educational authorities should have gradually increased portions. So, this is the plight of students and teachers and it is due to the apathy of authorities," the man, who teaches in a school that is over 150 years old, said.
(With PTI inputs)