Mumbai: Woman asks for CCTV footage of son getting 'harassed', school refuses
Dombivli institute hits back at mother as she protests about her son's physical abuse at the hands of a teacher
Six-year-old Advik Shetty, who studies in Dombivli-based The Shri Ram Universal School (TSUS), has had a traumatic last month owing to alleged harassment by a teacher. But what has riled up his mother further is that the school is allegedly trying to pin the blame on the boy, asking him for a 'mental fitness certificate' of the family.
"I suspect that my son has been sexually assaulted, and that's why the school management is refusing to show me the CCTV footage," said Sushmeeta Shetty. She lodged a police complaint against the teacher on September 10 after failing to get a proper response from the school authorities. The Manpada police are investigating the case.
It all started on September 7, after Advik quarrelled with a classmate over a trivial issue. The teacher, Sneha Kashid, allegedly thrashed Advik and, with the help of a security guard, dragged him down from the first floor to the ground floor, resulting in him sustaining bruises and cuts.
"After learning about the incident from Advik, I wrote to the principal and visited the school the next morning [September 8]. Despite repetitive requests, the school management did not show me CCTV footage of the staircase from where my son was dragged by his hands and legs like an animal," she told mid-day.
Advik Shetty suffered bruises in the alleged assault at The Shri Ram Universal School in Dombivli
After the school found out that Sushmeeta had approached the police and media, it prepared a notice for her and handed it to her on October 1, when she came to drop Advik off to school. School authorities said unless the documents asked for in the notice were submitted, the boy wouldn't be allowed to attend classes.
"This is with the reference to the email dated September 8, 2018, stating a complaint against a teacher in the school, which you had marked to the police, media and various other organisations ...it would have been ideal if you would have first made an attempt to reach out to the principal... In purview of the matter, the school recommends: a) A therapeutic intervention for the family (counselling services), b) A documented report of the above stating the same, c) A written apology, and d) An affirmatory note that no such incidences will be repeated in future. We request you to refrain from sending your child to school until the above documents are submitted," reads the notice dated September 25.
Sushmeeta then wrote to State Education Minister Vinod Tawde, whose office intervened. "His office directed me to the zilla parishad and later to the panchayat samiti. Two representatives of the latter visited the school on October 23 and instructed the principal to allow Advik to continue his classes," she added. However, she alleged, since then they have been harassing him in school even more, by "deliberately pinpointing every small mistake of his" and informing her about it in back-to-back emails.
The other side
Principal Radhika Srinivasan rubbished the charges and said, "We are disappointed by these false allegations... and condemn the actions to malign our reputation. The Shri Ram Universal School is nationally acclaimed and a reputed educational institution... Because the parent and child's conduct had become disruptive and abusive, professional counselling support was extended to help the child overcome the condition, keeping his and others' safety in mind."
The notice the school handed over to the boy's mother, demanding several documents from the family
When asked about the reason behind asking for a 'mental fitness certificate', Srinivasan added, "He has been attending the school under a counsellor's guidance; the school management and faculty have been patient and cooperative at all stages despite his violent behaviour. The matter is under investigation, and we are cooperating with the authorities and family to resolve the matter amicably and ensure safety of all students."
No. of days the six-year-old wasn't allowed in school
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