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tenderfoot preschool

Karnataka: Unsupervised child thrashes classmate in Bengaluru preschool, disturbing video goes viral

June 22, 2023

The disturbing video of a preschool child thrashing another in an unsupervised preschool in Bengaluru has invoked the wrath of social media users, who have castigated the school for leaving young children unsupervised.

The video which is a CCTV grab of Tenderfoot Montessori School at Arehalli near Chikkalasandra shows that children are left unattended in a classroom. The incident which occurred on Wednesday came to light on June 22.

One of the students who is 2.5-year-old begins slapping a two-year-old girl child and punches the victim while forcing her to the floor. The student is pushed to the floor and repeatedly physically hit by the other student.

Shockingly, one of the social media users also said that the school would go scot-free owing to their political connections. “Not sure if any action will be taken as the Montessori is run by the daughter of a local ward councillor Muniraju,” tweeted a social media user.

“We received a disturbing video of a preschool where toddlers are left unattended in a closed room. A senior kid is seen repeatedly hitting a junior school. Please don’t send your kid there! #childabuse,” tweeted Citizens Movement, which the Bengaluru City Police took cognizance of.

Babita Shankar, the founder of Tenderfoot, told EW that this is the first such incident at the playschool since its establishment in 2019. “A staff member who was in-charge of overseeing these children took some of them who had soiled their uniforms for a change of clothes. Even as the other staff were to take charge, the incident occurred. The child who abused the girl had sought admission just four days ago at the preschool. The girl’s parents have not lodged a police complaint. The abusive child’s parents have been mandated to take him for professional counselling and have been suspended from school. The girl child’s parents have withdrawn their admission,” says Shankar.

The preschool has 50 students and 7 staff members. Babita said that the staff strength would be increased to ensure incidents of this sort do not repeat.  

Responding to the incident, Swati Popat Vats, president of the Early Childhood Association said, “I would never blame children’s behaviour. Adults must understand that at this age group of 0-8, children don’t have impulse control. They don’t have self-regulation. They need someone to help them regulate their emotions, understand what socially acceptable ways are to show their emotions. When it comes to a preschool, you have a group of children who have come from different families having different emotions on that day. Some may be happy. Some are stressed. Some, frustrated because they may not have had their way while getting dressed in the morning. Others might have skipped breakfast. Having trained teachers is essential. The problem with most preschools is that trained teachers are not employed to save on salaries. And sadly also, most people are not entering the profession of early childhood education because of low salaries. It becomes a vicious circle.  It is not the children’s behaviour that is to be blamed. In this case, it is the school which didn’t have a teacher and was under the impression that toys are going to keep children interested. Somehow, they forget that each of these children would behave in a way that they find appropriate as per their emotions.”    

Incidentally, in one of their recent meetings with the Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, Shashi Kumar of the Associated Managements of Private Schools in Karnataka called for guidelines in case one minor harmed another in school premises.

“Children have a tendency of harming one another across age groups. Teachers must be allowed some liberty of reinforcement. Otherwise, more children will become victims of one child who is abusive if a teacher cannot use reinforcement. Presently, teachers cannot even talk to children in a loud tone. In such a case, schools become helpless. Parents must be held equally accountable,” he said.

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