It’s something that should ideally be promoted in an environment that can make or break a child. Well, this clearly hasn’t been the case. My teachers have over and over proved to be insensitive towards children acting out like normal teenagers. You see, I’m the kind of person who would sass back at someone and argue if they were being…ridiculous.
I have seen so many instances where children were scolded for getting inked, for getting their hair coloured and even sillier, they were scolded for crying when you called their parents and even worse, for indulging in self harm. Look, I understand that it’s a school and I know there’s a certain code of conduct but a tattoo or having streaks in your hair, having coloured rubber bands and talking to your seniors (trust me, my teavhers have warned me to never be seen with them again, because its my fault that i understand things that you dont want a tenth grader to know) all this doesn’t turn things into chaos and we all know it. If we teach our children that all of this is wrong and that it simply cannot be done, it only increases the number of people who would in future grow up to be a bunch of assholes who can’t accept others because of their differences. Why? Because it’s imprinted in their minds that such differences are wrong and that they’re bad.
I mean really, think about it, if Indian parents talked openly about sex or if only sex education existed in India on a mass scale, children wouldn’t be scared of talking about it and creating a stereotype around it. Instead they’re taught since childhood that it’s something you can’t talk about and it’s something bad, so we grow up thinking the same and putting labels on people who do it openly because that’s just what we have seen all our lives.
I once saw a teacher, one I dearly love, asking a girl why there were cuts on her wrist. They were standing in the middle of the corridor with the teacher busy correcting holiday assignments just repeatedly asking her why she did it. I’m sorry but that’s not how you deal with such things, concern and poking your nose everywhere are two very different things. If one even wants to talk to a student about it, maybe sit down with them and have a heart to heart instead of making them feel bad about the fact that they saw no other means to cope with their problems. I’ve even seen my school guidance councillor putting children up to revealing the secrets of other students, asking questions like,”are you mentally happy?” Oh I’m sorry no I’m not because you’re making me sit in the is godforsaken room making me answer questions that I in no way want to share with you right now.
This isn’t the kind of place where I would want to grow up. It makes a child self esteem go down and it makes them stone hearted towards things that require sensitivity. Sometimes you need to let children be, you need to let them learn their own lessons and make their own way. How long can you keep them from reality, and for how long are you going to make them believe they are so powerless when in actuality, all it takes is one student to stand up and realise how invincible they really are. It’s their body, it’s their life, not yours. And maybe it’s time you see that they have all rights to express themselves regardless of their age.
Which is why I may even lose the position of head girl at school. Because I fight, because my reputation does not matter to me and because the things I chose to wear, tattoo, pierce or do, are a part of my identity and I refuse to let anyone take that away from me in the name of discipline. The decision of who gets to be a badge holder is in the hands of our elders, our teachers. And who’s the ideal head girl? A girl who has good grades, someone who doesn’t answer back and has a good reputation. Well…. I’m none of those things. I’m a person of my own will, I talk and I stand up against anyone who goes against my identity. If that’s too much for them to accept, then it’s their own damn fault.