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‘No school for us’

Maya Kumar is having a tough time persuading her nine-year-old son Ashish to attend school after Wednesday’s incident. Her son was thrashed by his teacher in a school run by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi in east Delhi.

delhi Updated: Mar 21, 2009 02:03 IST
HT Correspondent

Maya Kumar is having a tough time persuading her nine-year-old son Ashish to attend school after Wednesday’s incident. Her son was thrashed by his teacher in a school run by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi in east Delhi.

Ashish suffered serious head injuries and has refused to write his examination. His friend Tabit too received six stitches on the head.

“We took him to school after Wednesday's incident. But he is scared that the teacher will hit him again,” said Kumar, a resident of New Ashok Nagar.

Ashish and 10 other students who belong to a nearby colony in New Ashok Nagar — Tabbis Alam (9), Mohammed Arshad (8), Faizan (9), Farmaan (13, Tabit (9), Jyotish (9) Akash (10), Sandeep (9), Niki (9) and Mahesh Yadav (9) — were beaten up by their teacher Rajpal Sharma with a bamboo stick that had a nail protruding from it. All of them are students of Class III.

“I was not able to complete my paper but I wanted to appear for it as I had studied a lot,” said Faizan, who had turned up to write his exam. The teacher had allegedly fractured his arm.

Following the incident, the municipal corporation said medical expenses of all the children would be borne by it. But the parents claimed they were yet to receive any help. “If we had waited for the MCD, our kids would have been dead. We paid for the medical bills ourselves,” said Mohammed Gulfaam, Arshad’s father. The MCD is waiting for a detailed inquiry in the case.

“The teacher was new and from an Army background. In trying to be strict, he took the extreme step, which cannot be condoned. A detailed inquiry in being carried out,” said Vijendra Gupta, chairman of the MCD’s Standing Committee.

This is not the first case of extreme corporal punishment.

In November 2007, 14-year-old Ajay Kumar died after he was allegedly slapped by a teacher, all because he signed over the teacher’s signature. The impact of the beating left Ajay paralysed and he died after two weeks.

In March 2007, a city court sentenced a schoolteacher to two years and nine months of rigorous imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs 5,000 over nine years after the teacher paraded a Class VI student naked in the school to punish him.

‘Teachers, parents to blame’

Experts said the problem lay not with the students but with the teachers and parents. “Corporal punishment is a manifestation of psychological, mental and emotional health of the teacher concerned,” said Abdul Mabood, Director of SNEHI, an NGO that works for psychosocial well-being and mental health of children and adolescents.

“Teachers need to be trained and counselled,” Mabood said.