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Schools spare the rod

mumbai Updated: Jan 23, 2010 01:02 IST
Bhavya Dore
Bhavya Dore
Hindustan Times
Schools spare the rod

In the past, where a teacher might have asked a student, who didn’t do his homework, to stay back in school and finish it or call up his parents if he was a regular defaulter, now they are thinking twice.

The recent spate of student suicides has left teachers wary about disciplining students.

“Our teachers are terrified now of saying anything to students. If a student cheats in class or doesn’t do his homework or hits another student, shouldn’t we maintain discipline?” said Rohit Bhat, principal of Children’s Academy.

With teachers unsure of how to handle such situations, most are marching errant students to principals’, who are treading carefully on disciplining students and being sensitive to them.

At Holy Family School, Andheri, principal, Father Francis Swamy, had teachers coming to him with the smallest matters. “To be very honest there is now a fear in the teacher community and that is very alarming. Teachers have become extremely cautious and no one wants to say anything to the students,” he said.

School principals also condemned the FIR being filed against the principal of Swami Vivekanand School, Chembur, on the charge of abetting a student’s suicide. The student, who was suspended from school for a week for beating another child, killed himself on Wednesday.

“What will happen to discipline in schools? If one boy beats another child aren’t we answerable to the other child's parents as well?” asked Bhat. Schools are worried that this is leading to unnatural classroom dynamics. “If teachers are holding themselves back then there will be a communication gap and they might not even be able to identify the depressed or troubled students,” said V. Balasubramanian, director of NES International School at Mulund.

Parents are equally on their guard. “Now when I tell my son to revise his exam syllabus I think twice about whatever I say,” said Rashmi Singh, whose 14-year-old son studies at RN Podar School at Santacruz. “Everyone has become extra cautious. The question is are we going to end up molly coddling them too much?”

(Inputs from Shahkar Abidi and Vignesh Iyer)