Upper caste students continue to skip school

Following media glare Kuppegala govt school locks its gates

Upper caste students continue to skip school

Kuppegala Higher Primary School, which has been the center of controversy for the past few days, locked up its gates, refusing entry to anyone, here on Wednesday. Gates of the school were opened only after 4.15 pm during the day.

According to officials of the Department of Public Instruction, the measures were initiated to ensure that regular classes are held for the students. “Presence of police and media personnel will create fear among the minds of the students. Therefore, classes were held in such a manner,” he said.

The school came into the spotlight following media reports that students of upper communities were not eating mid-day meals at the the school, as the cook belonged to Dalit community.

Parents of many students, who have demanded that the cook be changed, even stopped their wards from attending school. Following this, officials of the Department visited the school and warned the parents of filing atrocity cases against those who forbid their children from eating mid-day meals. A meeting was also convened on Sunday.

Attendance at the school, which had dipped following the controversy improved on Monday. While 133 of the 150 students of the school had attended on Monday, 48 students had brought food in lunch boxes.

The situation continued to be similar on Tuesday and Wednesday. On Wednesday, only 104 of the 150 students attended classes. During midday meals, 92 children, which included 80 members from Dalit community had the meals cooked at school, while 12 others had brought food from home. Several students of upper caste communities, did not attend classes.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, DDPI H R Basappa said that a meeting will be convened with all the parents shortly. “Currently, there are instructions from the Zilla Panchayat that no meeting regarding the same should be held, as the village is still tense,” he said.

Even though, close to 33 pc of the children, most of them belonging to the upper caste, were absent on Wednesday, Basappa claimed that children would start attending classes “within two to three days”.

He said that the Dalit woman would continue to serve as cook in the school. “All children who attend the school will be encouraged to have midday meals. However, it is the choice of the individual parents, whether they want to send midday meals in tiffin boxes. These are individual decisions and there are no problems,” he claimed.

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