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Pepper Spray incident: Goa child rights body seeks to reinstate accused students

The Goa State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (GSCPCR) has asked the Education Department to revoke the suspension of five students, who are allegedly involved in using pepper spray on fellow students.

On Thursday, around 11 girls studying in a higher secondary at Bicholim in North Goa were hospitalized after some fellow students used pepper spray on them. Subsequently, five students allegedly involved in the act were suspended from a class for a month by management.

GSCPCR Chairperson Peter Borges, speaking to IANS, termed the punishment given to these five students “harsh”. “Have sent a letter to the education department to revoke the suspension,” he said.

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“While the Commission understands that schools do have the right to impose reasonable sanctions if a pupil misbehaves, but action like suspension for one month is likely to be the least effective way of managing behaviors and could have negative effects on students in later life,” the letter reads.

“In this situation, these five students will be left humiliated and disengaged by the punishment that is given, which also violates their rights. School discipline must be administered in a way that respects a child’s human dignity, with a greater focus on the psychological needs of students. Students face numerous and complex stressors that school administration needs to understand them better to assist them successfully navigate their school years,” it further said.

“Punitive procedures and discipline practices can contribute to students disengaging from school and create the conditions for a negative school climate. A progressive discipline approach is needed that allows students to remain in school and receive required services for behavioral issues,” the letter stated.

“Further, the Hon’ble Commission recommends formulating and adopting School
Child Protection Policy which will set out the standards of behavior it expects from students, and which will also outline what the school will do if the child’s behavior falls below expected standards,” it further said.





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