CHENNAI: The Madras high court has directed the Tamil Nadu government to come up with a policy to appoint psychologists in every district to create a healthy atmosphere for school children to study. The court also asked the media to show restraint while reporting on suicides by students.
Justice N Sathish Kumar passed the order considering the series of school students suicides reported in the state including the Kallakurichi incident.
“The state should also come up with a definite stand as to the timings of study hours of the children, since it is stated that in private schools, children are being made to study from the 6am till late evening, even without any chance for interacting with others,” the court said.
Such continuous study hours will, in fact, create serious stress in children. The state shall take positive steps in restricting the study hours and indulging children in extracurricular activities, besides providing counselling, the judge said.
Pointing out that a section of the media is sensationalising student suicide, the judge said, “The print and electronic media should show some sense of responsibility while publishing news with regard to the children.”
Media should show self-restraint by not sensationalising suicides and stop projecting them repeatedly. Print and electronic media should introspect and not repeat the images, describe methods in detail and do not have screaming headlines. Give helpline numbers, the court added.
The court passed the interim orders on a plea moved by the father of Class XII girl who was found dead in a private school in Kallakurichi on July 13.
Earlier, the public prosecutor informed the court that the Special Investigation Team (SIT) formed in view of a court order to probe the incident has identified seven WhatsApp groups so far with 3,875 members, which were used to instigate protesters.
It was further submitted that an exclusive team has been deployed to work on online platforms and 63 YouTube links, 31 Twitter links, and 37 Facebook links have been identified and requisitions have been sent to Google, twitter, Facebook asking for IP addresses and account details of such content uploaders.
A request for blocking such content is also sent to the nodal officer of Tamil Nadu for blocking of contents as per Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code), the state said.
Recording the submissions, the court adjourned the hearing to August 29.