In what appears to be retribution for discussing the school fee hike on a WhatsApp group created by parents, three students of a Hyderabad school were issued transfer certificates on May 22.
The Vignan Bo Tree school (Vignan Vidyalaya) in Hyderabadâ€™s Nizampet has also threatened to issue transfer certificates to the children of around 50 parents. The school claims the parents made derogatory remarks about the institution and teachers in a WhatsApp group.
In a letter dated May 22 and sent to JV Ramana Reddy, the Principal cites his â€śadverse and derogatory remarks in the social media about the management, teachers, and institutionâ€ť caused hurt and pain.
Claiming that a group of teachers were offended by his uncalled for remarks and had planned to resign enmasse, the letter goes on to state that the school had no other choice but to issue a transfer certificate to his ward â€śto pacify and (up)hold the dignity of our teachers.â€ť
The trouble, parents say, began in April when Vignan Bo Tree hiked the tuition fee by 25 to 30%. Following this on April first week, three representatives â€“ Shivarama Kottireddy, JV Ramana Reddy, and Karnan submitted 150 letters on behalf of the parents questioning the increase in school fees and demanding that it be reduced. The school had then stated that it would consider their demands and get back to the parents on the issue.
On April 13, however, the Vignan Bo Tree management called parents for a meeting, where they allegedly accused the three representatives of manipulating the others to sign the letters. The management also informed the parents that the increase in school was required for maintenance and infrastructure.
Unhappy with the managementâ€™s decision, three WhatsApp groups were created with around 500 parents. Kottireddy, one of the parent representatives, pins the blame on teachers who are also parents for stirring trouble.
â€śWe didnâ€™t realise that some of the parents are actually working as teachers in the same school. They have been taking 50% discount because their children are studying in the same school. However, these parents have been observing the WhatsApp group and the messages and they have reported this to the management of Vignan school,â€ť alleged Kottireddy.
To fight against the fee hike, several parents had planned to participate in the postcard campaign organised by The Hyderabad Schools Parents Association on April 23. However, when word spread about the protest, several teachers allegedly called parents late in the evening and urged them not to participate in the campaign and to attend a meeting with the school management.
Kottireddy said, â€śSoon after that, I have posted a message saying that the school management has been hiking the school fee without any reason. They do not have any moral values.â€ť
He alleged that screenshots of the messages that were posted on the WhatsApp group were sent to the school management, which in turn threatened parents to issue an apology.
Meanwhile, Vandana, principal of Vignan Vidyalaya, refuted these allehwtions. She told TOI, â€śThe parent sent derogatory message to a school teacher on WhatsApp."
Karnan, another parent, who was also a representative, said he was forced to apply for a transfer certificate for his son after he was also issued a letter dated May 22.
The letter signed by the principal reads, â€śWe, the management and the staff of Vignan put in our best efforts to ensure a healthy relation between you and the school. You had 2 rounds of discussion with the school management on April 14 and April 23, 2017, respectively in order to seek answers and clarity to your concerns. But the above efforts and endeavours have not ended on a positive note.â€ť
The letter then goes onto accuse Karnan of making derogatory and false claims against the institution. â€śSuch commentary has deeply hurt the institution and reflects very poorly on your part. Such ungratefulness has not been experienced by the school in last 40 years,â€ť it states.
Stating that such â€śact of mockeryâ€ť will not be tolerated, the letter concludes by directing Karnan to discuss the matter with the school before May 29 and threatens action if he failed to do so.
Speaking to TNM Karnan said, â€śWe went to the school on May 29 and the management told us that we have been active on social media. They also said they will not change the school fee and if it is difficult for us to pay, we can apply for the transfer certificate.â€ť
While some parents have reportedly received a discount on the tuition fee after apologising to the school, many others are unsure about what to do next, given that the future of the children is at stake.