Mumbai: Child with mild autism asked to leave school

The school branded the kid a ‘slow learner’, made him repeat a year, then asked parents to seek admission in another school

At a time when the education department is stressing on inclusion in schools, and a strict adherence to rules as prescribed by the Right to Education (RTE) Act, five-year-old Vinayak Jigalmadi, a student of Cumballa Hill High School, was not only made to repeat a year in kindergarten, but has also been asked to seek admission in another school.

The school authorities have asked the boy’s parents to arrange for a special teacher, to take care of him in school
The school authorities have asked the boy’s parents to arrange for a special teacher, to take care of him in school

The child has mild autism and the school, after asking him to repeat another year in junior KG, has now asked parents to admit him in a special school. “In March this year we were told that our son is a slow learner and needs to repeat junior KG, and we were also made to sign a document, allowing the same.

My son has once again been attending junior KG for the past two months, only to be asked to leave now,” said B Jigalmadi, father of the student. On Thursday, the school bus personnel refused to pick him up, allegedly on orders from the school management, so his parents had to drop him to school.

“We were told that our fees will be refunded but our son will not be allowed in school. When I asked them to give this in writing, they refused once again,” added Jigalmadi. Last year, the parents were told Vinayak was not performing well in class and he was termed a ‘slow learner’.

The parents say the school even made him take tuitions from one of their teachers, which they (the parents) paid for, as he was not ‘studying properly’. They were asked to get tests done at any of the government approved centres to find the ‘problem’.

“A series of tests were conducted at the LD Centre in Nair Hospital and results clearly mention that he only has mild autism, and is fit to study in a regular school, and needs speech and occupational therapy. However the school is insistent that he be admitted to a special school, which is unfair on their part,” added Jigalmadi.

The Jigalmadis, originally from Bangalore, have been in the city for the past couple of years and due to his job requirements, the family will move to Hyderabad next year. “Time and again, I’ve requested the school to let him study there for this academic year only, because we will be shifting to Hyderabad next year and will get him in another school.

But the management is very adamant,” said Jigalmadi, and added that his worry is that his younger son will end up losing a full academic year. His older son is studying at St Mary’s School in Mazgaon.

No comment: School
Repeated attempts made by mid-day to contact the management of Cumballa Hill High School failed. School representative Mrs Chub refused to comment on the issue, however, one of the teachers said, “The child is aggressive and a slow learner.

The school has requested his parents to admit him in a school for special children instead.” On Thursday, after school, the school representative once again met the parents, only to convince them to either find another school for their son, or to bring a counsellor/shadow teacher for their son.

“The school authorities have asked us to arrange for a special teacher for our son, to take care of him in school,” said Jigalmadi, and added that they will also make a written complaint to the education department about this matter.

RTE states
According to RTE, no student can be held back in a class till he/ she finishes elementary education. While schools have time and again claimed that as minority institutes they are not required to follow RTE, the Maharashtra government has made it very clear that all schools have to follow RTE rules. Minority institutes are only exempt from following the RTE quota admissions, as mentioned in a Supreme Court order from April 2012.

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