BANGALORE: Corporal punishment reared its ugly head in two Bangalore schools on Tuesday. Both incidents are shocking: in the first, seven girls of a kindergarten in Whitefield were branded with a hot knife by an attendant . In the second, a teacher smashed a nine-year-old boy’s face against the ground, leaving him with two broken upper teeth and cuts on his lower lip in a school on Queen’s Road.
While the little girls were branded because they were bawling, the boy was subjected to inhuman punishment by his maths teacher as he had not done his homework.
The kindergarten girls were in the 3-5 age group. Sujatha, who worked as a helper with Building Blocks Daisy Nursery, had been asked to take care of the children since the teacher had left for home.
As the children bawled and kicked up a ruckus, the woman is believed to have tried to bring the class under control. After a while, a furious Sujatha rushed to the school kitchen, pulled out a knife, heated it on the stove, rushed back into the classroom and branded the seven children on their arms, police said.
Parents who came to the school to pick up their wards in the evening were outraged to find the children branded and in tears. They took the little ones to a police station and lodged a complaint before taking them to hospital.
When contacted, school authorities said they were shocked by the incident.
In the evening, the parents of nine-year-old Mohammed Huzaif filed a complaint with High Grounds police alleging that their son was subjected to corporal punishment by a teacher. The boy’s two upper front teeth broke and he suffered cuts on his lower lip, they said.
The boy is a Class III student of St Mary‘s Public School, Queen’s Road.
“My son left for school around 9.30am in an autorickshaw. When he returned , there was blood on his shirt and hands. When we questioned him, he told us his maths teacher had punished him,” said Mohammed Fayaz, an electrician and resident of Broadway Road.
James Suresh Ambat, philanthropist and founder of the Building Blocks Daisy Nursery , where seven KG girls were branded with a hot knife, said: “I have not witnessed it myself . But this incident cannot be tolerated. As our policy, we don’t allow teachers to even touch the students. I don’t know how this kind of thing can taken place. I learnt about it at 4pm. The accused was suspended . In fact, her own child is studying in our school. We are with the parents.”
The school has 74 children on its rolls. It is run for the benefit of weaker sections of society on a charity basis, said Ambat . According to Ambat, most children studying in the kindergarden are from the Ambedkar Nagar slum in Whitefield.
Asked about the teacher’s absence that left children in the care of untrained personnel , Ambat said: “Even parents who are making such allegations were not present during the incident. We are looking into the issue.”
Police said helper Sujatha, who branded them, had been picked up. She is believed to have told police that her idea was only to discipline children.
WHAT THE LAW SAYS
” No child shall be subjected to physical punishment and mental harassment,” says clause 17, Chapter IV of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act.
RTE rules notified by state government task Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (KSCPCR) with protecting the rights of children. KSCPCR has to monitor and investigate complaints of violation of child rights, and initiate action. The parents are expected to contact the institution head.
In case it continues, the parent can register a complaint with KSCPCR or block education officer.