Mumbai: Parents take on Ryan International school for targeting student
They are contesting the teenager's suspension and harassment before the Child Rights Commission; were forced to shift him to another institution
Rahul Sinha (name changed) is preparing himself for the long haul — both the commute to his new school in Airoli from his home in Sion from the coming academic year and the fight with his old alma mater before the Child Rights Commission (CRC). The Std X student and his family have taken on Ryan International School in Chembur for his alleged harassment and baseless 20-day suspension.
The school suspended the student last December for the alleged assault of his classmates. The parents, however, claim that the suspension was motivated by a complaint of corporal punishment they had filed against a teacher, who had slapped the boy six times in October last year for leaving his shirt collar button open. The teacher was forced to resign, but was reinstated soon after and the boy suspended for over 20 days, they say.
The student’s suspension was revoked after the parents took the issue up with the CRC, but he was allegedly subjected to continued harassment. The parents complain that the school started picking on the boy — he returned home with reprimanding remarks by teachers on the school calendar each day, his projects were rejected and he was barred from participating in extra-curricular activities. All of these began to take a toll on the student’s self-confidence and mental health.
Fearing further harassment in a crucial year of board examinations, the parents started scouting for schools for the next academic year. “But, no school was ready to admit him. Many schools either do not have vacancies in Std X or do not want to admit new students for that grade. Then, there were other schools that refused admission after learning about our fight with the previous school. Finally, we got admission in AVM School in Airoli,” says the father.
The parents have also taken their Std VI daughter out of the school, fearing that she would be targeted next.
The father says despite their initial fight with the school over the suspension, they were glad to let bygones be bygones when their child was taken back. “That happiness didn’t last long. Soon, my son started coming home with a list of remarks on his school calendar, which disturbed him. He had been away from school for over 20 days during his suspension. So, he had fallen behind on the curriculum. But instead of helping him catch up with the rest of the class, the school refused to accept his projects. He was also not allowed to go on a camp on absurd grounds. The school also refused to let him appear for the final Std IX examinations. We then had to request the authorities in writing to allow him to appear for them.”
Jayant Jain, president of NGO Forum for Fairness in Education, questions why the student was kept out of school for 20 days.
The Other side
Neti Srinivasan, spokesperson of the Ryan Group of Institutions, trashes the parents’ accusations. “They are completely baseless. We have been running schools for years now and know how to treat children. What has been alleged is not the way we function. The parents took their child out of the school themselves and we respect their decision.”