Classmate played a prank, claims school

Classmate played a prank, claims school

Classmate played a prank, claims school

Countering charges of discrimination against RTE quota students, the Oxford English School here has attributed the hair-snipping of some children to a mischievous prank played by a Class I student.

However, Dalita Samrajya Sthapana Samithi, the outfit which had levelled allegations of bias against the school stood by its claim.

Ajith Prabhu, secretary and principal of the School, denied that a teacher of Class I had instigated a student to cut tufts  of four of his classmates last Thursday. “The student did it himself out of mischief. It’s completely baseless that the teacher had instigated him or that we wanted to discriminate against children admitted under RTE quota,” Prabhu told Deccan Herald.

According to the school, children were given scissors in the arts and crafts class for cutting papers. Aniruddh (name changed), a student, cut tufts of four children — Anwar, Sowmya, Kavya and Sugandha (names changed). These children complained to the class teacher, Krupa. The headmistress, Mamatha, was informed about it in the evening. Parents were told about the incident on Friday. They visited the school and had an argument with Aniruddh’s father. The same day, members of Dalita Samrajya Sthapana Samithi barged into the school. They took away the children’s bags and notebooks, and misbehaved with Krupa, Prabhu claimed.

Prabhu, who lodged a complaint with the police, said a regular (non-RTE) student’s hair was also cut. “This means there was no discrimination against RTE students,” he said.

The incident came to light when the Samithi members approached the media on Tuesday. Samithi head Narayan claimed the hair-cut was merely the tip of the iceberg. “RTE students have been facing discrimination since admission. We have been telling the school management to mind its ways but it didn’t listen,” he said.

Narayana further claimed that the school, established in 1975, admitted 10 children under RTE. In addition, the school “discriminated against” the students in other ways.

These children were never given homework. They were forced to sit separately. Their names were also not entered in the attendance register, the Samithi claimed.

Prabhu denied that RTE students’ lunch boxes were checked before they were let inside the school. “We are meat eaters ourselves.There’s no truth in the allegation.”  He admitted that the children were not given homework. “They are from Kannada medium. They cannot be taught the regular syllabus at the outset. Hence, they were treated differently,” he argued. He claimed that the children’s names had been entered in the attendance register. As for forcing the children to sit separately, Prabhu said the school rotated the seating. “There are 40 children in the class. All parents want to see their wards sitting on the front benches,” he explained. Officials of the Department of Public Instruction questioned the school authorities on Thursday and are to submit a report to the higher officials later in the evening. “If there has been any discrimination, we will take action,” said Minister for Primary and Secondary Education, Vishweshwara Hegde Kageri.

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