The case against Bengaluruâ€™s Baldwin group of schools took a turn recently, with two FIRs being filed against a parent who led the fight against the school. The school filed an FIR against Murali, a parent whose ward studies in Baldwin Co-Education Extension High School in Rajarajeshwari Nagar, alleging that he misbehaved when the books were being distributed. A second FIR has been filed against him by a third-party vendor, alleging that the vendor's employees were threatened by six assailants, who brandished knives. The FIR was filed on the allegation that there was Murali's hand in the same.
Parents, whose wards study in Baldwin schools, lodged complaints with both the District Education Regulatory Authority (DERA) and the Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (KCPCR) saying the school was charging an exorbitant amount for their childrenâ€™s books and was forcing them to buy the books from a single vendor.
Murali was called to the Kamakshipalya Police Station for an enquiry on Saturday based on the complaint filed by the third-party vendor.
Baldwin Co-Education Extension High School Principal, Vijay Kumar Koujalagi filed the FIR against Murali in the Rajarajeshwari Nagar Police Station.
â€śThey are resorting to these kinds of tactics because they are wrong. Yesterday, when I was called in for an enquiry, people thought I had been arrested and plenty of parents rushed to the station to stand with me,â€ť Murali said.
Parents believe that the school is trying to harass and intimidate them so that the case isnâ€™t pursued. Parents had protested outside the schoolâ€™s campus in Rajarajeshwari Nagar on May 21.
The school had allegedly asked students to submit demand drafts for the books for the next academic year, but had not even prepared the book list. The parents who paid were forced to go to a hotel to collect the books. Private schools cannot force students to only purchase their books from a select vendor.
The matter is currently being pursued by both DERA and the KCPCR. Two quasi court hearings were held by DERA. On Saturday, DERA informed the parents that they would be taking up the issue of the school hiking its fees. With regard to parents being forced to buy books at exorbitant prices from a single vendor, the authority said that they would give their findings to the Education Department, who would then take the final decision.
On May 30, the KCPCR put a hold on the sale of books, and is scheduled to hold a hearing on Monday. For the time being, the school has agreed to display the books so that parents can choose what they want to buy, and has said that parents are at liberty to buy books from wherever they would like to.