Parents are up in arms against the Presentation Convent School located in the posh area of Raj Bagh Srinagar for awarding what they say ‘harsh’ punishment to the girl students for allegedly keeping washrooms ‘untidy’.
Aggrieved parents who have already intimated the Director of School Education Kashmir, about the episode entered into an argument with the school management on Friday.
Parents informed the news agency Kashmir News Trust that scores of girl students from Class 6 and 7 were forced to stay in and outside the classrooms in a standing posture after the Principal found the washroom ‘unhygienic’ on the 2nd floor of the school building.
The ‘punishment’ to the students was awarded on Thursday. “My little girl came home crying. She was not feeling well and complained of back pain due to the ‘harsh’ punishment,” one of the parents said on condition of anonymity.
As per parents, the Principal of the school canceled all the academic activities and ordered all the students to remain in a standing position at a stretch for 2 hours in their classrooms and directed teachers not even allow them to bend.
Parents said that after the 2-hour-long punishment, the Principal further ordered students to spend 40 more minutes in the scorching heat.
“Students were traumatized and harassed in the name of discipline. Many students fell unconscious and shifted to the medical room,” the parents said adding that action should be taken against the incumbent Principal.
“I found my child numb and painful at home. After insisting, she narrated the whole story of trauma,” the infuriated mother of a student said seeking action against the school management under section 82 of Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 dealing with the provision of corporal punishment.
Parents said that the Principal didn’t relent though the staffers had requested her to stop the punishment.
When contacted, an official from the School Mr Rameez told KNT that students were not punished but only counseled after the morning assembly by the Principal when washroom had been found completely ‘unhygienic’.
“We can’t tell you the condition of the washroom, that was really bad, totally ‘unhygienic’. To make the students understand the essence of ‘hygiene’ and sanitation, students were counseled,” he said adding parents should approach the school, not the media to ‘demean’ the institution.
“How can you force students to be in standing posture in and outside the classroom that too for over 2 hours. Can we call it a counseling session? asked an aggrieved mother.
She also claimed that the school has employed male sanitation staff to clean the washrooms used by girl students.
In response to this question, the Presentation Convent school official said that male staff cleans washrooms only after the students leave the school.
The parents urged School Education Department to act swiftly on such matters or else it will become a new normal in other schools. (KNT)