Finally, some positive news from the St Thomas Central School in Thiruvananthapuram, where two students were expelled for hugging each other on campus. The school has now decided to take the students back, after a meeting with MP Shashi Tharoor at his office in the Kerala capital.
After TNM broke the story about the expulsion of the two students for a congratulatory hug during an Arts festival in the school, the incident got widespread attention and stirred a heated controversy in Kerala.
Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor, who condemned the incident strongly and has earlier intervened in the issue, called for the school management and the families of both the students for a meeting in his office on Friday. The meeting was held to discuss possible resolutions to the issue, and to find a way for the students to take their annual exams.
Rahul* and Gayatri*, the students who were expelled, were present at the meeting with Rahul’s parents and Gayatri’s mother. The school management was represented by Secretary of the Mar Thoma Educational Society Rajan Varghese, Principal Sebastian T Joseph and the school’s lawyer Mridul John Mathew.
During the meeting, the school management agreed to take back both the students, and assured the parents and Shashi Tharoor that they would be allowed to write their exams. The school has however put forth certain conditions for the same, and these conditions are still being discussed.
A person in Shashi Tharoor’s office told TNM, "Discussions were held separately with school management and parents of the students. It was agreed that both the students will be taken back and can write exams. In the case of the boy, there is shortage of attendance. The school management will write to CBSE about it. It's not a big issue.”
“Regarding the girl, the registration for exams should have been done in August. At that time, she was not a student of either of the schools. Before submitting TC, she has joined another school, but didn't continue there. The MP will take up the issue with CBSE to make sure that she can also write her exams,” Shashi Tharoor’s office said.
“After writing exams, she can decide whether to continue in this school or not. About the case filed by the parents, a decision will be taken after discussion with lawyers on Saturday," they said.
Speaking to TNM, the boy’s father said, “We ended the discussion on a positive note, though there are certain clauses to be discussed further,” he said.
Principal Sebastian T Joseph also told TNM that the meeting ended positively. "MP Shashi Tharoor's decision is final for both the school management and the families of the students. We ended the discussion in a positive note," he said.
Shashi Tharoor has taken personal interest in the case ever since it came to light, and has spoken to the school management earlier as well. He managed to convince the school to ask CBSE to allow Rahul to write his board exams earlier. It was his intervention that made the school soften its stand this time as well.