A 15-year-old boy studying in Activity High School at Peddar Road has approached by the Maharashtra State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (MSCPCR) on Wednesday accusing the school authorities of forcibly giving him a haircut, which amounts to corporal punishment. The Class 10 student, Rushabh Desai alleged that he felt humiliated after the school principal got a barber to give him a haircut against his wishes.
On September 24, Rushabh Desai, studying in Class 10, was pulled up by his teachers for allegedly sporting long hair which is not permitted by the school. Subsequently, a barber was called in by school authorities to give him a haircut.
The school spokesperson on behalf of the principal, Perin Bagli, said that the boy was punished as school rules stipulate that students cannot have mushroom cut, spikes or long hair. “We are strict about discipline and expect our students to have short hair. Those who do not follow this rule are sent to a barber to get a haircut,” said the spokesperson. “We called the barber from a reputable salon and this practice has been going on for years.”
Desai alleged that he was sent to the barber twice in one day and his hair was cut too short, which made him a laughing stock among his classmates. “Entire class was laughing at me after the hair cut, it was very humiliating,” said Rushabh. “I do not know why I was picked out by the teachers, other boys had spikes and they were not targeted.”
He also alleged that on Tuesday, the teacher asked him to pay Rs. 150 for the haircut and called him a ‘joker’ when he refused to pay. The school spokesperson however, denied the charge.
“The principal actually made his classmates apologise to him. She tried to make him feel better about the haircut by telling him to take a selfie and compare it to his earlier cut.” Desai’s parents said that they decided to approach the MSCPCR after their effort to file a police complaint turned futile.
Desai also alleged that couple of years ago the school principal had even stuck gum in his hair when he was caught chewing it outside school. Bagli could not comment because she was occupied with school work, the spokesperson added.
Education department officials said they would probe the matter if they receive a complaint. “It is acceptable that the school wants that the students do not have long hair or fancy cuts but doing it this way is not acceptable,” said BB Chavan, in-charge deputy director, Mumbai.