The Jamnabai Narsee School, Juhu, has once again contested the expert panel report on an eight-year-old autistic boy who was asked to join a school for special children a year ago.
The three-member panel, which observed the child for 30 days in a classroom setting, said the child was fit to attend regular school with a shadow teacher.
The school, however, argues that the report fails to address important issues like in what environment the child will fare better.
“The report says that the child can survive in school but does not say whether it will be able to progress at the school. The experts have not addressed if the child will perform better in a different environment,” said the advocate representing the school.
The case was being heard at the Maharashtra State Commission for Protection of Child Rights.
The panel, headed by development paediatrician Dr Samir Dalwai, had submitted a report earlier in May also. That time, the child was observed for 11 days. The school objected, saying the boy has to be observed for 30 days as stipulated by the high court.
Upon this, the commission asked the panel to observe the child for 19 more days and submit a fresh report.
It’s the findings in this final report that the school is picking holes in.
One of the criticisms is that the report is silent on the impact of the child’s behaviour on other children in the classroom.
“The class teacher had to spend a lot of time and attention on one child. Also, the shadow teacher carries out parallel set of instructions for him, which is likely to disturb the class,” said the school’s representative at the hearing.
Further, the report does not prescribe for how long a shadow teacher would be required, the school argues.
“The child needs to be prompted and helped during exams and is being controlled by the shadow teacher. How will this be possible when the child goes to a higher class?” the school said.
Another criticism against the report is that it doesn’t take into consideration the observations of the class teacher, which the school submitted before the commission.
The boy’s parents alleged that he was being subjected to cruelty as a CCTV camera was used to monitor him.
“We have learnt that the school has installed a CCTV just to monitor our child. Why does the school need to police just one child?” said the advocate representing the parents.
“The panel has heard the arguments and the case is closed... an order will be released soon,” said the commission.