Mumbai: Disabled students and their parents barred from entering classroom by management

Updated: Jan 17, 2018, 16:43 IST | Pallavi Smart

Parents of challenged children studying in Divyang Special School in Borivli, being run from the premises of Sister Nivedita school, arrive on Tuesday to find classrooms locked by the latter

With classrooms locked, teachers conducted classes in the corridor on Tuesday

What should've been a regular day on Tuesday for the 35 special young ones studying in Divyang Special School in Borivli instead turned into a rude shock. When parents of the students reached the school to drop them off, they were barred from entering with all classrooms locked and teachers standing outside. Reason: the small space of haven for special children on the premises of Sister Nivedita school had been shut by the latter's management to make way for a new international school — The Orchid — that will start operations from the next academic year. Even as the parents refused to leave and protested on the premises, the special school conducted classes in corridors.

With classrooms locked, teachers conducted classes in the corridor on Tuesday
With classrooms locked, teachers conducted classes in the corridor on Tuesday

Future tense
Divyang Special School was conceptualised and managed by the parents of the 35 children from in and around Borivli. They had come together in 2016 and formed a Social Support Foundation, which had started running the school from June 2016 with help from special educators. The parents had been told in November 2017 to vacate the premises. Having already filed a case in court against the management, they are now up in arms against it, saying how authorities can take such a step when the case is sub-judice.

"We made so many efforts, and today, our children are forced to attend school in corridors in front of toilets," said Anil Kumar, a parent. Hanumant Khandagale, principal of the special school, said, "It is sad to see how one school is not bothered about students of the other. These children cannot easily adjust to a new environment, and just this small shift had them confused and agitated." "Management of Nivedita school had rented out two classrooms and a veranda for our school. There was no formal agreement, because we were told by the principal that the land was owned by MHADA and given to Vivekanand Shikshan Sansthan, the trust that runs Sister Nivedita school, to run a special school. How can a big private institution open here then?" questioned Rajesh Tayal, a parent who is an office-bearer of the foundation formed by parents.

Quest for justice
While parents are knocking on every possible door to get justice, planning to complain to the Child Rights Commission and Human Rights Commission, they also are approaching the police to file a cheating complaint. Principal of Sister Nivedita school, Dyaneshwar Mankar, said, "We don't want to say anything. The matter is in court, which will give the decision."

When contacted, an official from Orchid school said, "Orchid is not taking over the land. We are just giving academic support and our brand recognition to the school run by the existing trust. The existing management is looking after the situation of students currently studying there."

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