Nearly 20 kids in Panchgani school suffering from chicken pox; parents blame school

Feb 12, 2013, 10:11 IST | Kranti Vibhute

Close to 20 students in Panchgani's Cambridge International School are suffering from chicken pox; parents have alleged negligence on the school's part.

More than 20 children of Cambridge International School at Panchgani are suffering from chicken pox alleged parents in a written complaint to NGO Forum for Fairness in Education (FFFE).

Parents alleged that they were not informed about children's ill-health for more than four weeks.

In their complaint, they have also said that the children are not being treated properly and that there is no facility or proper infrastructure in the school to look after them.

One of the parents said that the children were kept hungry for two days and that the quality of food served by the school is very poor and unhygienic.

The complaint came to the NGO on Monday evening. Parents realized that their kids were suffering from chicken pox when they went to pay the fees.

Parents have alleged that the school and attached hostel lacked cleanliness and that the water provided was unfit for drinking. They said that there was no in-house doctor in case of an emergency and that sudents from economically weak backgrounds were all the more neglected.

Jayant Jain, President of FFFE, said, "We will send our team to school tomorrow. We will make sure the police complaint against the school is filed for child abuse and for not providing proper medical assistance to the children. A complaint to this effect will also be lodged with education officer to inspect the school for the failure to protect the children and also for not informing the parents of the serious issue."

Austin D'Souza, a friend of one of the parents, said, "When I went with my friend who went to see her daughter, a student of class 2, we saw that she was suffering from a severe bout of chicken pox. We came across over 20 students who were suffering from chicken pox. We went to file a police complaint at Panchgani police station, but we were stopped by the school principal and also threatened by some men. Hence we took the girl home. Her hair was also cut by the school without informing the parents."

School says

This is what M Pothen, Principal of Cambridge International school, had to say:  "This woman had approached me for the admission of her three daughters for the academic year 2012-13 saying she was a divorcee and financially weak.

She requested me to reduce Rs 10,000 from the fees of every child. Her daughters are in class 5, 3 and 2. The total fees of each child is Rs 90,000 but I made it Rs 80,000. She was supposed to pay the fees of all her three children by December 31 last year.

We extended the deadline for her till February end. She came on February 3 to meet me, but since I was not there I couldn’t meet her. Later when she came yesterday (Monday evening), she created a scene.

She took her three daughters saying she wanted to take them for dinner and she went to the police station.

She claimed in the police station that if the school fees were reduced by another Rs 30,000 she wouldn't file a complaint.She left after signing some papers there.

I cut the hair of her youngest daughter without informing her because she said she was bankrupt and wouldn't be able to come to Panchgani. Her daughter had some itching problem in her head and she was also given medication.

The allegation she has made is wrong. Proper care was taken of her children by the school and the other 12 children who suffered from chicken pox were sent home with their parents." 

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