An underprivileged Class 8 student was forced by his teacher to beg for money from his classmates as a punishment for failing to bring a pen to school in Chhattisgarh’s Bilaspur district.
The 13-year-old lost his father a few years back and his family is being supported by his grandfather, a retired school teacher.
During a class last week, the teacher Rajkumar Gupta noticed that Preet Kashyap (name changed) was not taking any notes. On being reprimanded by the teacher, Preet explained he couldn’t take down the notes as he didn’t have any money to buy a pen.
This angered Gupta who asked Preet to arrange a plate from school’s mid-day meal kitchen and beg for money. He dropped a coin in Preet’s plate and asked the adolescent to beg from students. Gupta then told Preet to buy a pen from the money he had collected and warned him not to come to school without a pen again.
The incident took place at a government school in Ratanpur, about 140 km from Raipur. The matter upset Preet’s friends in school and parents of his classmates reportedly complained to district education officer (DEO) R N Hiradhar.
Jitendra Kashyap, a local corporator and Kashyap’s uncle, said, “We are simple people and don’t wish to antagonise anyone as this might affect my nephew's education. But someone lodged a written complaint,” he said.
Jitendra said Preet lost his father, a marginal farmer, a few years back. “His grandfather, a retired school teacher, is supporting the family. Preet also has two younger sisters,” he said.
During the inquiry, Preet said he tried explaining his position to the teacher but to no avail. “I was a little worried about attending school without a pen. I tried explaining to my teacher why I came without a pen but was rebuked and asked to collect money for the pen.”
“The preliminary investigation reveals the teacher committed the shameful act. He has been suspended on Friday and a departmental inquiry ordered into the incident,” Hiradhar said.
Reacting to the incident, clinical psychologist Anamika Singh said, “The teacher could have simply gifted a pen to the student instead of humiliating him. This incident can emotionally scar the student."