The school alleges that the parents tried to shut down the school by demeaning its name and tried to financially destroy the school.

Representative image of school studentsImage for representation (Picxy / Satishlal)
news Education Sunday, June 13, 2021 - 12:29

Three students of a Kerala school were dismissed by a school management in Alappuzha district of Kerala over a grudge against their parents who had moved the Kerala High Court in 2020, seeking a reduction in fees. Two students -- who were slated to join class nine and a third student, who was supposed to begin his eight standard classes, were ousted by the management of Janasakthi Public School at Kayamkulam in Alappuzha district. The parents of the students allege that the school did not even issue a prior notice about the decision.

Demanding justice, the families are now frantically trying to ramp up support so that their wards do not end up losing an academic year. It was on June 2, when online classes for the present academic year rolled out, that the students and parents discovered the school management’s move.

“We hadn’t received any information about the school reopening or book distribution. It is when my daughter’s friends called and enquired as to why she was absent in online classes that we came to know that classes had started. Following this, when I contacted the school Principal, he said that management has decided to terminate my child and two others,” says Kayamkulam native Prathapan, father of Jewel Prathap. He adds that the school management had been holding a grudge against them for filing a plea against the school in the High Court last year, demanding a reduction in fees.

In the explanation letter sent by the school principal to one of the parents on June 3, it was claimed that the school took the decision due to the 'fake propaganda’ by these parents that resulted in many students not paying the fee for the last academic year. The letter also alleges that one of the parents made an offensive remark against a class teacher. A case is registered against a parent regarding this, it states. "The three parents, Vinod Kumar, Dileep Kumar and Prathapan, tried to shut down the school by demeaning its name and tried to financially destroy the school. The school managing committee has decided not to allow their children to study in this school," it said.

The legal fight that started it all

In February 2021, after listening to multiple petitions filed by parents of various CBSE schools across the state asking for a reduction in fees amid the COVID-19, the Kerala High Court had ruled that schools can collect fees with discounts of 15 to 40%.The parents of these three children were the ones who had filed a plea against Janasakthi Public School. According to the parents, the school management has alleged that the parents brought down the reputation of the school and hence the action.

“Due to COVID-19 pandemic, most of the parents had been in a terrible situation, with many losing jobs and with severe financial constraints. So about 180 parents in the school gave a joint petition to the administration asking to forgo the one-time payable admission fee which will amount to Rs 15,000. These fees include charges of electricity, lab fees etc. Since it was an online class, we felt our demand was justified. But the school authorities threatened to dismiss our children if we did not pay the fees, it was then that we moved the High Court. Since there were similar petitions, they were considered together and we paid the fee as per court ruling," says Prathapan.

But he alleged that the school management had been holding a grudge against the three parents. “Before this academic year started, some parents had been saying that the school might take such an action against our children. But I hadn’t believed it. After we came to know classes started, I wrote a letter to the Principal seeking explanation on why my son was not allowed to attend the class. And it was then, in the explanation letter, the school informed that my son is ousted along with two others,” said D Vinod, father of Devan V.

According to the parents, the children are still in shock about the turn of events. “We moved court as representatives of all other parents. My child is emotionally broken. When his friends call, speaking about the online class and school, tears trickle down his eyes. We can’t stand watching this, what an injustice this is,” says Vinod.

The parents also allege that the school management is trying to scare others through this move. “They are trying to silence us, but we will not be. It is the matter of our children’s education,” Vinod says. Prathapan also added that the parents will move court against the school management’s action, which is a blatant violation of children’s right to study, he says.

The parents have filed a complaint with the Minister of General Education and Kerala State Commission For Protection Of Child Rights.

Read:

When can schools in India reopen safely? Interview with Dr Srinath Reddy

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