Children were spotted carrying glasses of coffee and milk

“There is no disciple superior to his teacher,” reads a saying in Tamil at the entrance of the American College Higher Secondary School at Tallakulam here. Probably taking a wrong cue from it, some of the 44 teachers in the school are in the habit of asking the students to run errands for them.

Visitors to a popular coffee bar, about 200 metres away from the school, could see students in uniform buying coffee, milk and snacks like vadai for their teachers between 3pm and 4 pm on weekdays.

Though the school had an in-house canteen, some of the teachers choose to treat their taste buds at the coffee bar which charges Rs.15 for a cup. But sadly, they want the cups to be brought to them not by the menial staff but by the students.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, one of the students found at the coffee shop said the teachers would generally make hostel students run errands for them. “At times, they ask day scholars like me to buy coffee and milk. I cannot say no because they are my teachers, you see!” he quipped.

The student had no answer when asked why the teachers were not utilising the services of non-teaching staff for such jobs. However, the boy said the teachers always paid for the hot drinks and snacks they had.

When contacted, school headmaster J.Dharmaraj initially denied that the teachers were asking students to run errands. Pointing to a metal tumbler in his chamber, he said: “We have an in-house canteen. Why should we get coffee from outside?”

However after persistent questioning, he said some of the teachers might have sent the students after class hours. “We have already instructed our teachers not to indulge in such practices,” a senior faculty member seated at the headmaster’s chamber said.

Deploring the practice, Chief Educational Officer C.Amuthavalli said stern action would be initiated against the teachers who asked the students to do their personal works. “It amounts to ill-treatment of school children.

They cannot be asked to run errands either during school hours or after school hours,” she said.

The old government-aided institution has a strength of about 1,350 students studying from Classes VI and XII.