Sir: Even the safest of the safest places are not safe enough for our children, especially daughters. My daughter is a student of pre-nursery at a leading school. She is a prominent child, not just in school but also in the neighbourhood and the family, for English is her first language, unlike me and my wife. She recently came back from school one day and, during a conversation, complained about pain. “Baba, my shame shame haai”, ‘haai’ is the word we use to indicate pain. I immediately called my wife, and we asked her “who did it”. Her reply was, “Uncle did this”. When I asked where the uncle was, she said, “Uncle in school.” I was hurt, concerned and outraged at the same time. The very next day approached the administration and asked for five minutes of the class teacher so that my wife could discuss the matter with her over the phone. I was told it was against the school policy, and that I or my wife should call on the official number in order to talk to the teacher, or file any complaint with the administration so that it could be conveyed. Without elaborating, I told them that the matter was of serious nature and I didn’t want to immediately take it up with the principal or the administration, as I would be shouting at them then. The person present there immediately understood my polite statement and furious facial expressions, and asked for my wife’s number so that she could call her herself. I shared the number, she made the phone call and I took my daughter outside the office. The teacher was then approached and my wife told her about the incident.The teacher obvious went into the denial mode in the beginning, saying that all teachers were females and the maids accompanied children to the lavatory. After almost eight minutes, the staff member came outside to take my daughter to the classroom, and told me that the matter would be discussed with the principal and an investigation would follow. But I couldn’t control myself and told her that my daughter, who every morning was excited about going to school and meeting her class teacher, was scared of even coming to the school, leave alone staying there for four or five hours. I told her that I had to “bribe” my daughter with ‘chips and a promise of taking her to the market to get toys for her later in the day’ in order make her go to school that day. The staff member politely reiterated that the matter would be probed, and took my daughter inside, saying that the administration will get back to us with a report. At the back of my head, I knew that it would be more of an interrogation than an investigation, and that my daughter would be put through ‘time-redundancy’ probably in order to “prove” that it was nothing more than a false memory or to shift the onus. But I know two things: my daughter never tells a lie and she speaks about everything with me.I am sharing this not to malign any department, institution or individual, but to caution all the parents out there to realise that even the safest of the safest places are not safe enough for our children, especially daughters. You cannot be with them all the time, but you should have enough time to listen to everything they want to say. Moreover, there should be enough trust between children and their parents that the former can share every little thing with the latter, and for that confidence needs to be built. Silence has to be discouraged, especially in such cases, otherwise our children will continue to suffer, and, eventually, so will we. I know there will be a probe at the school, but not sure at what level. I also know that the administrative stall will try their best to ensure that the repute of the institution is not damaged. I know all the answers and the results of all the exercise(s). But I am not bothered about that. Changing the school is an obvious option, which I will most probably go for, but changing the system, environment and culture is a need, which I can’t do, at least not alone. I don’t want any investigation; I need protection, for my daughter, which can only be ensured by the authorities. A FATHERVia Email Published in Daily Times, October 11th 2018.