What happens when a portion of the ceiling, in a high profile pre-school, comes crashing down, narrowly missing a five-year-old girl’s head but injuring her nonetheless?
In the case of Globe Tot’ers pre-school, a Lokhandwala-based pre school run by Birla Edutech that charges Rs 60,000 as annual fees from each child, it is dismissed as a “minor incident”.
On March 26 as little Aishwarya (name changed) was sitting in her class, ready to play Holi with her classmates, a portion of the ceiling suddenly came crashing down. Luckily she escaped with minor injuries but the accident has left the girl traumatised and she is still afraid of ceiling fans.
Following the incident, the school management pre-poned the summer vacations to March 28 while sending out an email terming the incident as minor. Agitated parents of the victim have now sought a refund from the school and are admitting their child to another school.
The girl suffered a deep gash on her foot and bruises and cuts all over the right side of her body. Her parents were informed about the incident and her mother rushed to the school and took the traumatised girl home. According to the parents of the girl no one from school accompanied them following the accident or has bothered to apologise about the incident since.
A day later however, the school management sent an email across to all parents (SMD has a copy of the email) which stated: “This is to inform you that a piece of plaster in the K-2 class fell from the ceiling today.
This has caused a minor injury to our K-2 child. In order to complete the repairs of the premises and a thorough audit of the infrastructural stability and safety it has been decided to advance the summer vacations and closes the school for this academic session from Thursday, 28th March 2013.”
Since the incident, several parents whose children also study in the school have visited the girl but according to the parents of the victim nobody from school management have visited or called them yet. The girl’s mother Shonali Malhotra Soni, who is a well-known model and TV actress. When SMD contacted her, she said, “My daughter hasn’t come out of the shock yet and doctors have said she suffered haematoma (internal bleeding).”
Following the incident the parents of the victim have also communicated with parents of other kids who are studying in the same centre through social networking sites. In one post, Soni wrote, “Negligence is bad. Negligence followed by dishonesty is worse. We don’t want an apology but we do want accountability, we need answers, we need assurances.”
On Saturday, SMD learnt that a few other parents too were taking their children away from the school. Speaking to SMD, Sanjana Sanjeev, a parent said, “My daughter was in the other classroom, she heard a thud and there was panic. The kids were so frightened they start crying. I have changed my daughter’s school and as far as I know most parents of K2 (senior KG) are doing the same. We have no complaints about the academic standard or curriculum but such negligence is not pardonable, especially when we pay fees of Rs 60,000 for one year.”
Another parent, Kabir Sadanand said, “My son was in the same classroom though he was not injured. We do not wish to continue here and I have claimed the refund of the fees. How can the school claim the accident was minor?”
When contacted, a spokesperson of Globe Tot’ers told SMD, “Though it was a minor incident we took corrective measures to revamp the entire infrastructure of Globe Tot’ers.
Periodic structural repairs are done during vacations, and also when required. For us safety of students is of utmost priority.” Centre head Arnaaz Tejani refused to comment on the incident when contacted and thereafter did not pick up her phone or reply to text messages.