Mumbai school 'punishes' girl for having a 'disease', 'humiliates' mother

The mother of a nine-yr-old student of Mumbai's Jamnabai Narsee International School has filed a complaint with the office of the deputy director of education to report how her daughter, who suffers from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) since birth, was denied basic rights by the school authorities and humiliated the mother 

The office of the deputy director of education in Mumbai on Monday received a complaint from the mother of a nine-yr-old student of Jamnabai Narsee International School. In her complaint, the mother has highlighted how her daughter, who suffers from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) since birth, was denied basic rights by the school authorities. What’s worse, the letter also highlights how the mother too was humiliated on campus when she went to inquire on her daughter’s status in school.

“The school was duly informed about my daughter’s condition and that there are bouts when she can’t attend class regularly. One such period was in September when she could not attend school for a week. On getting back to school, instead of helping her recover, my daughter was made to stand outside class for hours together because she did not have a doctor’s certificate,” said the mother. On informing the school principal about this incident, the mother was shocked to find out that the principal too was not informed about the same and the decision to keep her daughter standing outside class was taken by the class teacher and the coordinator.

“I was shocked to find out that the reason given by my daughter’s class teacher for making her stand outside the classroom was because she assumed that my child has a disease and according to the school policy she won’t be allowed in class as she can be a threat to other children,” said the mother, and added that the school authorities have also duly been informed at the time of admission that IBS is not contagious. In her complaint to the deputy director she has also added that after being made to stand outside her class, the student has been feeling “uncomfortable” to go back to school because she felt humiliated about the punishment.

The worst shocker came last week, on October 9, when the mother visited the school to check on her daughter’s status and also personally talk to the class teacher as well as the coordinator. “I didn’t want to disturb the class so I spoke to the helping staff and requested to meet the coordinator, after following proper school regulations to enter the school only in the specified time. What followed was my worst nightmare,” said the mother.

Not only was the school coordinator furious about having to face the parent but also called security to usher the parent out of the school gate. “I repeatedly kept telling the security personnel to not touch me and assured them that I will show myself out but she followed me till the end and that’s where I broke down,” stated the mother.

This incident has also been highlighted to the school management on several occasions, said the mother, but other than empty promises little has changed. “We have received the complaint and have informed the zonal education inspector to visit the school and inquire on this matter. A report will be submitted on the same and accordingly we will initiate action,” said B B Chavan, deputy director of school education, Mumbai region. Meanwhile, the school authorities have sought time to go through the CCTV footage before commenting on this issue.

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