Pune: After five hours of agitation and intense pressure from the angry parents, the school management finally signed a letter to the police asking them to lodge an FIR against the negligent school principal and director, who allegedly hushed up the matter for months. The management also agreed to a 14-point charter of demands set by parents which include lady attendant per bus, police verification of all bus employees etc.
A parent, Sher Mohammad Khan, told dna, "We met police commissioner Satish Mathur who assured us of all help and appreciated our efforts. The victim was asked to leave the school and based on our demand that she should get free education till Class 12, the school assured us to readmit her and provide her free counselling and bus services."
Another parent Neeta Kumbhar said one teacher indirectly threatened her saying that her son is in Std XII and such protest can harm his future.
The drama got escalated as school children became part of the agitation rather than going to the classrooms. The teachers warned them not to be part of the stir but the students questioned the teachers saying, "Why was our sister (victim) not consoled and instead treated so badly?"
As teachers were tongue-tied, students raised slogans "We want safety, we want justice" and "Principal ko jail mein, bacchi ko school mein."
School does not have PTA
Pune: Parents of children of the school where an 11-year-old was raped by the bus attendant complain that the school does not have Parent-Teacher Association (PTA). Due to this, the parents of the victim did not know whom to approach.
Following the complaints of parents, deputy director of education has instructed the education officials in the city to check the status of the PTAs in all the schools.
Deputy director of education Suman Shinde however said that it is the responsibility of the parents to go and check with the school on why PTA meetings are not conducted.
One of the parents Padma Acharya said that her daughter and son are studying in the school for the past five years.
“After this incident when I came to the school, I met other parents and had the PTA existed in the school, we would have been meeting more often,” she said.
Chandrakant Kshirsagar, father of another student, “I do not know about the PTA. However, I used to inquire about it, the school used to give reply that there is no such thing existing in the school.”
While speaking to dna, Shinde said that she has instructed all the education officials to take the review of the PTAs in the school. “It is the responsibility of the parents to insist that the school forms PTA so that if there are issues related to the fee, transportation, etc. it can be resolved in the meetings.”
Director of Education (Primary) Mahavir Mane said that it was not mandatory for the schools to have PTA, however since the Fee Control Act is passed, there is a provision in the act that there should be PTA in the school as the decision on school fee will be taken after the PTA’s approval.
Chairman of the school M N Dixit said, “We have got the notification from the authority and in a month’s time we will form the PTA.”
Protests give victim a new ray of hope
Pune: After the initial apathy by school authorities, the 11-year-old sex abuse vicitim told dna that the protests carried out by students and parents in support of her has given her a new ray of hope. She said that people will now believe her story and stand by her.
She is happy that a few of the class teachers have chosen to speak in her favour, despite a few of them having maligned and questioned her character.
“I was shocked to learn that one teacher said that I am mad and characterless. I didn’t know what the words meant. I immediately looked them up in the dictionary to understand what she was trying to say. I felt very disheartened after that. But as other parents started protesting for me, for the first time, I saw my parents feeling hopeful. That makes me very happy. Though I am discouraged by my principal’s actions, I still believe that my class teacher and two other teachers at least will speak the truth.”
Some want to withdraw kids, others say no to school bus
Pune: Rattled by the 11-year-old girl’s alleged rape by the school bus attendant, some of the angry parents on Monday said they will withdraw their kids from the school while a few others said they won’t send their children by the school bus. Despite the school management’s promise to scale up safety measures, the parents were in no mood to listen to their hollow assurances.
A 16-year-old student of standard XII said, “It’s very shocking to know that the school management failed to act despite the girl’s family informing them about the sexual abuse several times. I study in junior college of the same school. I came to know that the school asked the girl’s parents to take her leaving certificate, which is very unethical. Since my father is from the defence background, we cannot be associated with an institution that has no no moral values and hence I plan to withdraw my admission from the college.”
A parent Anoop Sethi said, “I am a woman and can understand the parent’s pain for their daughter. Why has the school stooped to such a low level? If the school cannot stand by the victim then why should we send our children to this school? Until I am not satisfied about the safety of our kids, I have taken a decision to drop and fetch my daughter and her friends to school.”
Two other students of standard XII said, After the incident, our parents are worried of sending us to college. They did not send us for the past three days. Later, we assured them that we will go safely and on Monday they took a decision that we will not travel by school bus and they have arranged private transportation for us.”
After a mutual decision, the school and parents have drawn conclusion on 14 points:
- RTO norms should be followed
- Lady attendant must be present in the bus and the appointment must be made by school
- Police verification of school bus drivers, helpers and attendant must be done
- School bus must display phone numbers of police stations
- Formation of Parents Teacher Association (PTA) in a month's time
- A suggestion on each floor of school
- GPS system in the school bus
- Nodal agency for transportation facility
- No more buses on hire from accused Pathan
- All absentees/changes must be informed to parents
- Executive committee meeting three times per year
- General PTA meeting twice a year
- Bus fees should be collected by school
- Transparency in bus facility and student-related issues