A meeting of the principals and teachers working in the schools of Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Pune, held in Nerul on Saturday, ended in a draft of charter of demands being prepared. The schools will further delve on the draft through suggestions from various schools and submit a final demand charter to the government.
The meeting came in the wake of the blackening of the face of DAV school, Nerul principal Jose Kurien by Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) party workers on December 14.
The MNS workers had, over the issue of submitting a memorandum on school bus safety, resorted to violence in the school premises.
Around 300 principals and teachers from over 50 schools attended the meet called by the Navi Mumbai Area Schools' Association (NMASA) at the DAV school in Nerul. The participants condemned the incident strongly. They also spoke at length on the pressures under which the schools have to work and demanded better security measures by the government.
Said Fr S Almeida, president of NMASA, "We had a very good discussion on the issues plaguing the schools in the region. While the recent incident took place at one school, it could happen with any school. There are always a lot of pressures from external sources."
Almeida added, "It was decided at the meeting that the draft prepared by NMASA be worked on. We will further discuss the draft through emails with various schools. We will also consult lawyers. Another meeting will then be held to finalise the draft and submit a charter of demands to the government."
Some participants also suggested a black ribbon protest on a day decided in advance in every school in the region.
The NMASA also submitted a letter of demands to Thane Guardian minister Ganesh Naik.
"This is the first time that such a meeting has ever been held in the State. We also want to ensure that the state is the first to make violence at schools a non-bailable offence," said Almeida.