Daughter of parents fighting Mira Road school in fee hike case isolated on first day of academic year; legal letter dropped in her bag highlighting fee regulations
For some, the first day of school brings excitement, for others it means anxiety. For a six-year-old Std II student of Mira Road’s RBK School, it was humiliating. The girl was allegedly made to sit alone in the library for over three hours on Monday, the first day of the new academic year, and yesterday in the reception area. She was not allowed inside class. The reason: The management and her parents are locked in a dispute over the school’s fee structure. After two days of alienation, she no longer wants to go to school, say her parents.
After a row following expulsion of students from Dahisar’s Universal High School over parents not paying the hiked fees, state school education minister Vinod Tawde had instructed all schools to ensure that no child suffered any mental or physical harassment due to fee-related disputes between parents and school managements.
The girl’s father, Aakash Nayak, has submitted written complaints to the education officer as well as the police for the “mental harassment” his child suffered.
“My daughter was quite excited about the first day of school, but the way things unfolded has made her go into a shell. She did not even eat her tiffin. She doesn’t want to go to school now fearing isolation,” said Nayak, who has been running from pillar to post demanding justice. “If school did not want to let my child attend class, it could have called us to take her back. This is unacceptable, that it takes her in and then makes her go through such trauma. We don’t understand the objective behind making a child go through this for no fault of hers. What are they trying to prove?” he questioned.
He added that his wife got a call around 2.30 pm, informing about an envelope dropped in their daughter’s bag. “They asked my wife to check the envelope after our daughter had reached home. When the school could call my wife to inform her about this, it could have easily told us to take her back right at the start, giving us a reason in writing for doing so. How can a school be so insensitive toward children?” Nayak fumed, adding that the envelope contained a letter from the school’s lawyer listing aspects of fee payment and other regulations.
“I paid the fees for the whole of last year through a Demand Draft because the school was not accepting my cheque. Last year, the school’s fee structure dispute was in court, and I was waiting for the court’s directives, after which I paid the fees. The school then asked for Rs 1,000 late fee for my son, who is in Std IV, which I paid in cash. But for my daughter, it is not giving any reason for not accepting the fees.”
From the authorities
Refuting Nayak’s allegation, the school management issued a statement that read, “Issue raised by the parent is sub judice. It is denied that the child was made to sit in isolation in the library. We have followed all rules and regulations governing us. It is denied that the child has suffered any sort of harassment as alleged.”
“We had written to Mr. and Mrs. Nayak over the last eight weeks about their duty to (follow) the orders of the court (which had directed them to pay the fees).
However, the parents failed to respond to our reminders… We are required to ensure minimum standards as mandated, and norms of our admission process are transparent,” it added.
Deputy director of education (Mumbai) BB Chavan, however, condemned the school’s act and said, “This amounts to mental harassment of a child. We will conduct an inquiry in the case and take action against the school.”
“If the parent has submitted it (a written complaint) to my office, we will look into it,” said deputy superintendent of police (Thane) Prashant Kadam.