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12 students from Pune school thrashed for speaking in Marathi

The Std VIII students had violated the English-medium school’s rule of speaking only in English on the premises; the teacher used a cane to reprimand them

In the era of globalisation, a child’s fluency in English, or the lack thereof, makes a significant impact on his career, not just in terms of landing jobs, but also for getting admitted to good colleges.

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Would you, however, sanction the brutal thrashing of students for failing to follow their school’s rule of talking in English on the premises? Ask English teacher Jitendra Singh, and the answer you get is an emphatic yes.

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The teacher got furious after finding the students speaking in Marathi in the class. He called them to his office and started beating up the group with a cane. Representation pic

And Singh walks the talk, too. A teacher at the English-medium Priyadarshani School in Bhosari, Singh brutally beat up 12 Std VIII students with a cane after he found them conversing in Marathi in the class around 10.30 am yesterday.

While Singh later claimed that the kids had been warned nearly 20 times in the past, were abusing each other, and the parents of many students had given him their tacit approval for corporal punishment, the kids’ parents were not amused. “The incident happened in the morning.

Teacher Jitendra Singh got furious after finding the students speaking in Marathi in the class. He called them to his office and started beating up a group with a cane. In his rage, he didn’t realise how brutal he was being or even how much the children were suffering,” said a parent of one of the kids.

NGO steps in
Avoiding a direct confrontation with the school, for fear of their child’s future in it, a set of parents called up NGO Childline. A representative of the NGO, Sagar Gurav, who rushed to the school, said, “I reached the school in the afternoon, and spoke to the students who had borne the brunt of the brutal corporal punishment. According to them, the school has a specific policy of speaking only in English, and many other students have been punished in this way. The injury marks were visible on the students.”

Anuradha Sahasrabuddhe, the director of Childline, said, “If the parents don’t do so, Childline will file a police complaint against the school. The police can file a case under various sections of the Juvenile Justice Act.”

Setting an example
Singh, however, insisted that he had done nothing wrong, and claimed that the 12 students were not just talking in Marathi, but also abusing each other.

“The school had given them 18-20 warnings about their misbehaviour. However, as things were getting out of control, I took action against them to set an example for the other students,” Jitendra Singh, the accused English teacher told mid-day.

He admitted to beating them up with a cane. “Even if my son was doing such things, I would have punished him like this. My intentions were good. Some of the parents had also told us recently to take any action we deem fit, as the children were not listening to them either,” said Singh.

When he was told that some parents were upset, and about the allegations levelled against him, Singh said, “There are some people who are taking advantage of this issue. If anyone wants me to apologise to the parents, I am willing to
do so.”

Rajendra Singh, the CEO of Priyadarshani School, also confirmed that the incident had taken place. “We condemn what has happened, but the students had been warned before. The teacher’s intentions were definitely clean. If a mistake has been made, the teacher will apologise. We have called all the parents to school tomorrow and we will decide what action needs to be taken to resolve the issue.

When the CEO was asked whether there is a strict policy of not talking in Marathi in the school, he said, “Yes, we do have such a policy. If we find any student saying anything in Marathi, we ask him to repeat the sentence in English.”

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