A standard VII student of a South Mumbai school is paying the price for an incident in school for which, her parents insist, she was not at fault. The Girton High School at Grant Road has not allowed the teenager to attend classes for nearly three months, insisting that she leave the school. Her fault? She allegedly falsely blamed a school peon of saying that a man was waiting at the school gate to pick her up.
The student, who took admission to the school in June 2013, last attended school on November 11, 2013. Her parents said that on September 9, 2013, two of her classmates told her that a man had come to pick her from school. “Worried about her safety, I inquired about the incident with the school. The chairperson of the school then called the girls to her room and asked them what happened. Subsequently, the school alleged that my daughter blamed the peon for the statement, which is untrue. Only the three girls were involved in the conversation. Our daughter did not even meet the peon,” the girl’s parents told dna.
The parents approached the Maharashtra State Commission for Protection of Child Rights on December 4, 2013, saying that their daughter’s academic future was at stake.
“The school labelled our daughter a liar and for reasons best known to it, insisted that we remove her from school,” the parents said. “I was asked to leave the school, saying ‘misbehaviour and liar’ remarks will be added to my school leaving certificate,” the girl told the commission’s secretary, AN Tripathi.
Despite pressure on them to apply for a school leaving certificate, the parents refused to do so, fearing that their daughter will not be admitted to another school in the middle of an academic year. They have instead written to the school education ministry and department to look into the matter.
“Our daughter has not committed a mistake even if she has blamed the peon. The school cannot ruin her academic year... we want her to study and have been requesting the school to take her back,” the girl’s mother told dna.
Education inspector for south zone has asked Girton High School to allow the girl to attend classes after taking an undertaking from her parents that such an incident will not happen again. The school authorities refused to comment, saying the matter is sub-judice. “The principal is not available till mid-February,” said a school official. However, advocate Rahul Jain, who is representing the school before the commission, said: “We will ensure that there are no remarks on the girl’s leaving certificate, but we cannot allow her to attend school. However, she can appear for exams in March.”
The commission has asked the school to file a reply by Friday.