Humiliation came to light when she broke down while getting ready for school the next day. The girl was forced to stand outside the class along with five other students over non-payment of Rs 6,000 fees
Mahatma Education Society’s Pillai HOC International School in Panvel claimed that the punishment meted out to the child was over a different issue
Aditi (name changed) is too young to even understand what social embarrassment means. But the nine-year-old is mortified to go back the school where she was allegedly humiliated over non-payment of fees.
The child was allegedly made to stand outside the classroom on Monday, along five other students of Pillai Group of Institutions’ Mahatma Education Society’s Pillai HOC International School in Panvel, as punishment for failing to pay the term fee of Rs 6,000.
The alleged humiliation came to light only the next afternoon when Aditi began crying while getting ready for school. “She said she didn’t want to go to school,” said Vikram Kamble (31), Aditi’s father and resident of Rees village near Panvel.
Kamble got a worrying call from his wife while at work - Aditi’s school starts at 12.30 pm - who told him of the ordeal their daughter had just revealed. He said he wanted to talk to Aditi, but she was inconsolable and in no state to speak.
“When I called back 40 minutes later, she was more settled and recalled the humiliation,” he said. “The ridiculous reason cited was that a measly sum of Rs 6,000 (fee for the third term) had not been paid.”
According to Kamble, who is an alum of the same school, the fee structure had been recently changed. “Usually, we pay only twice a year - in March and April. This time, they split the fees into three terms. The fee for the first and second terms had been paid. We had never defaulted on fee payments in the past.”
Refusing the lay the blame solely on the teacher’s doors, he felt that she must have been pressured by the school management to exact such a punishment. “I can’t blame her. She was only doing her job. This is not a personal issue.”
He blamed the school management for its “unprofessional” conduct. “It could have communicated with me and settled the matter amicably. I demand an unconditional apology from the management.”
Not the first time?
Monday’s ordeal allegedly wasn’t the first. Aditi had allegedly suffered the same punishment last month, but kept mum. “On January 28, the same teacher made her stand outside class as we had not paid the fee,” said the father. “But, my daughter didn’t tell us at the time.”
The Panvel school isn’t the first to resort to high-handed measures over pending fee dues. On January 17, a teacher in Thane’s Gyanodaya Vidya Mandir beat up a seven-year-old mercilessly and pulled chunks of her hair out over delay in payment of fees.
The other side
Reema Nikalje, school principal, said, “Whenever such an incident occurs, we first question class teachers. What he (Kamble) claims is not true. Nothing like this (punishment for pending fees) has ever occurred in our institutions. I have spoken to the teacher and the issue was over skating classes.”