A month after Bengaluru's Baldwin school courted controversy for charging parents exorbitantly for textbooks, an even more shocking and serious charge of verbal abuse, physical assault has come to light.
Parents of a student had written to the Karnataka Primary and Secondary Education Minister N Mahesh about the incident when they were allegedly verbally abused and threatened by the school principal himself as well as by the staff.
This, after Sandeep BC, father of a class 1 student got no help from the jurisdictional police but was instead threatened to be put behind bars in relation to a “false case”.
The letter (dated July 27) along with photographs as evidence of malpractices, was sent to the minister on August 1, after parents of the 6-year-old student faced the alleged mistreatment.
Speaking with TNM, Sandeep BC on Tuesday said that he is hopeful of a hearing from the minister or the education department in this regard, although there has been no response yet.
TNM could not reach Minister N Mahesh for a comment. His personal assistant denied knowledge of this letter.
The trigger for the alleged assault and harassment was for speaking out against making four to 6-year-olds stand outside the school gate, which Sandeep termed as “children cruelty” in the name of enforcing discipline.
“I have dropped my son to school at around 8.10 am. Since we have forgotten his lunch box, I had to go back to school at around 9.15am to hand over the lunch box. The school gates were closed, I noticed more than 10 kids in school uniform, aged between 4 to 6 years, standing in front of the school gate, weeping and crying and pleading with security persons, to let them inside,” Sandeep wrote in his letter.
In his letter, Sandeep mentioned how after repeated requests, the school administration refused to let the students inside the premises in the name of discipline. Seeing no other way out, Sandeep said that he called the police.
Policemen who came in the patrol van ensured that the children were let inside but what followed was most shocking, Sandeep narrated in his letter.
“Immediately, the staff member told me to be in the principal’s office and a phone call was made to my wife from there, who was at home and she was immediately summoned to appear in school. Within 20 to 25 minutes, my wife reached the school and after she had come inside the chambers of the Principal Antony D’Souza, more than eight staff of the school barged inside and started abusing me and my wife with filthy language. They snatched our mobile phones and broke it, started manhandling me, some of them have hit me with their fist,” he wrote in his letter.
Sandeep and his wife were told in no uncertain terms that they should have not gone to the police and were also threatened that their ward can be given a transfer certificate.
“Me and my wife were wrongfully confined in the principal’s chamber for more than an hour. My wife pleaded and begged them with tears to let us go and explained the importance of children’s security and safety concerns, and requested them to inform the parents about their children being not let inside the school. The principal got very furious, he started manhandling me by holding my neck and abused in filthy language. My wife was hit and pushed hard to one corner of the room, and school authorities called the police to come to the school immediately,” he continued.
What is even more shocking is that policemen attached to the Ashok Nagar Police Station instead of helping the couple, allegedly threatened them with a “false case”.
Sandeep also mentions that these incidents have made him decide to withdraw his son from the school.
Meanwhile, another parent of a student studying in the same school said that this is not surprising at all although things were fine just a week back.
“These things are quite common these days as the new management is under NL Karkare. As soon as he assumed office, he brought in his own people. We have come to know that the speciality of this man is to close down schools and sell the properties run by the Methodist Society in Pune and Hyderabad,” Murali, a parent who is actively protesting against the new management, said.