A Class 9 student stabbed his teacher to death in a classroom on Thursday allegedly because she had reprimanded him and complained to his parents about his poor performance.
As his horrified classmates watched, the 15-year-old stabbed Uma Maheswari, who taught science and Hindi in the St Mary’s Anglo Indian School, in the neck and then the repeatedly drove a kitchen knife into the abdomen of the 39-year-old.
Her colleagues rushed Maheswari to hospital, where she was declared dead. She is survived by her husband, a marketing executive, and two daughters.
“It seemed the boy had come prepared — hiding the knife in his bag. We are in deep grief. This is unexpected,” said principal and rector Father Bosco Periyanayagam.
The boy managed to flee the classroom even as some of his classmates — many were still walking in for the third class of the day when he attacked the teacher at around 10.50am — raised an alarm.
An exporter’s son, the boy, described as a recluse by classmates, was found hiding in the school's washroom and handed over to the police, who found the bloodstained knife on him.
“The student was angry over the negative remarks the teacher had entered in his school diary.” NK Senthamarai Kannan, joint commissioner of police (north Chennai), said. A teacher's note in a student's diary has to be acknowledged by parents or guardians.
“The motive was revenge. We are questioning the boy. He will be lodged in a juvenile home,” the officer said. A source claimed that the boy feared being held back.
The boy, said a neighbour, led a protected life. A car dropped him to school everyday. Expressing shock, another neighbour said, “It is difficult to believe such a decent boy killed his teacher.”
Some of the students’ parents said Maheswari was a strict but a good teacher.
St Mary’s is a popular school in north Chennai, known for high academic standards.