Bengaluru schools, parents fight graffiti menace

Washroom walls are covered with embarrassing messages written by students.School authorities are not able to get rid of them despite bringing in experts, CCTV cameras.

Published: 15th February 2018 06:46 AM  |   Last Updated: 15th February 2018 06:46 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

BENGALURU: Kids writing graffiti on wash room walls, has become a big menace for city schools and authorities are struggling hard to handle it!Despite implementing several steps and initiating disciplinary measures against those indulging in such activities, the school authorities have failed to control the menace, expressing their helplessness.

According to the schoolteachers and attenders, this habit of writing on wash room walls is an age-old one; but shockingly, now even kids from class 5 and 6 are indulging in it."In my 13 years of experience in teaching, I have observed that earlier only high school students indulged in such activities. But now, even primary kids are doing it and it is not a good sign," said Hema Venkatesh, a teacher in one of the prime schools in city.

This activity/habit by kids at schools has also become a worry for young parents as the younger children from class 1 and 3 too started reciting bad words written on school wash room walls.Following such incidents, parents have started approaching the school authorities for solutions.Recently, a group of parents of students in Delhi Public School (DPS) East raised the issue over a social media platform and also approached the school authorities.

One of the parents said, "There are dirty writings in the wash rooms and it looks like an ongoing activity. Kids aged 8-9 years are using those wash rooms. These younger kids are afraid that there would be a day when their name would be on the walls of wash rooms."

When some students brought this to the notice of the class teacher, measures were taken to erase the graffiti. "Unfortunately, even after cleansing the walls, the graffiti has reappeared ," said another parent.
Niranjan, parent of an eight-year-old in Kendriya Vidyalaya, says that while this is a problem everywhere, parents cannot shield their children from it. “We can simply advice them on how to deal with different situations,” he says.

Parent of a 12-year-old in Bishop Cotton Boys’ School says that it is difficult to make school management to act on what could be seen as a ‘smaller concern’. “We have a WhatsApp group in which we raise complaints, but school officials act only on problems they perceive as ‘big’,” says the parent.

However, even school authorities plead helplessness in controlling the menace. D Shashi Kumar, General Secretary of Associated Management of Primary and Secondary Schools in Karnataka said, "This graffiti on wash room walls is so rampant that even us, being the authorities, we cannot do anything despite several measures being taken. This has been discussed in most of our meetings. In our school, we restrict kids from carrying pens or markers during breaks. Despite that, we are witnessing such graffiti everyday."

Meanwhile, to understand the seriousness of the issue several parents in DPS-East even visited the wash rooms at the schools whenever they attend parent-teacher meetings. "I visited a school wash room meant for pre-primary classes during a recent parent-teacher meeting and was shocked to see a writing saying, 'Please Marry me',” said another parent.

As observed by the school teachers and authorities, wash room walls and doors have become a common platform for kids to express their love, hate and everything through graffiti.“The most common form of graffiti is the heart symbol along with a name of the girl and boy with arrow marks through the heart. And the most common word used on washroom walls is F**k," explained Shashi Kumar.

FROM CLASSROOM DESKS TO WASHROOM WALLS
There was a trend a few years ago where in students used to write on benches and desks in the classrooms. Now, following CCTV surveillance inside classrooms, the same has shifted to wash rooms! Not just govt schools, the practice is common even at elite schools.
 
HIGHLIGHTS
Children using wash room walls as platform to express their feelings
Hate messages for a strict teacher are common
Heart symbol with the name of girl and boys are very commonly seen
Dirty words written in Kannada, Hindi and English languages
 
MEASURES BY SCHOOLS
Ban on carrying pen/pencil or marker during break hours
Asking class monitor/leader to ensure their classmates are not carrying pens or pencils during wash room breaks
Attenders have been assigned a job to whitewash wash room walls every evening after class hours
Approaching handwriting experts to catch culprits

 

Handwriting experts to pin down culprits
Fed up with such graffiti, some schools have even gone to the extent of approaching handwriting experts to pin the culprits. "To control this, we even approached handwriting experts to catch the culprits. But, even then students do not accept their mistakes, and we are not in a position to punish them in any other way," said a management representative from Blossoms School in city. As wash rooms are sensitive area, the schools cannot take any other measures. "The CCTVs have been installed in corridors outside the wash rooms, but not inside. As we restrict them from carrying pens or pencils during the break, they do it when they come early to school or while going back home," said the principal of another school.

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