A school in Chandigarh has directed 16 students to do community service on the campus after they were accused of posting abusive comments about a female teacher on networking site Facebook.
The Vivek High School in Sector 38 had Oct 7 suspended these Class 12 students for three months. It changed its decision on Friday in the wake of desperate requests from the parents.
"We have reduced the suspension period to five weeks and they (students) have to do community service on the school campus. We have changed our stance, keeping in mind the approaching board exams," school chairman HS Mamik said.
"The guilty students have to devote six hours before Dec 20 with differently-abled students. They also have to look after the school notice and display boards. They have to write an essay and prepare a power-point presentation on the merits and de-merits of internet and have to present it in the morning assembly," he said.
Earlier this month, a student who got low marks in the mathematics paper posted his answer sheet on Facebook with rude and abusive comments against the female teacher. Fifteen classmates chipped in with their comments.
The teacher, who was linked to one of the students on Facebook, saw the comments and reported the matter to the school management.
The punishment has evoked a mixed response among the parents and the teacher fraternity.
"Community service and giving students some responsible task is the best way to mend their habits. All Chandigarh schools should adopt a similar model," said Harold Carver, the principal of St. Stephen's School in Chandigarh.
Ashish Sharma, a biology lecturer in a government school here, said: "Community service is the best way through which students can get a chance to introspect and realise the gravity of their offence."
Parents of the guilty students are not happy.
"They have their pre-board exams in December. If they do community service and take care of school notice boards, how can they concentrate on studies?" the father of one of the suspended students said.