Kindergarten not registered; St. Mary’s teacher suspended

The Department of Primary and Secondary Education has initiated an investigation into the two shocking cases of corporal punishment reported in Bangalore on Tuesday.

While the police made no arrests in the case where a teacher physically abused her nine-year-old student smashing his teeth and jaw for “not finishing his homework”, the kindergarten attendant who cruelly branded six very young with a hot spatula in an attempt to “discipline them” for making noise in class, was produced before the 10th Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) court following her arrest on Tuesday night. She was later released on bail.

In the former case, the mathematics teacher at the St. Mary’s School on Queen’s Road was suspended by school authorities. The High Grounds police also booked the teacher, Nirmala, for assault based on a complaint by the boy’s parents, Mohammed Fayaz and Umae Salma.

On Wednesday, the Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights also registered a suo motu case and initiated another inquiry.

Only a play home

Upon preliminary investigations, the Education Department found that the Building Blocks Daisy kindergarten was not registered with the Education Department as it is only a play home run by a voluntary group and not a regular school. However, Nanjundiah, Block Education Officer, Bangalore South (4), said the department would initiate action against the institution. “The kindergarten was closed today [Wednesday] when we went for a spot inspection,” he added. As per the law, while schools are registered, play homes are not monitored by the Education Department.

The department has issued notice to St. Mary’s School, asking it to reply within three days. “This is in gross violation of the Right to Education Act which forbids corporal punishment,” said Ramesh, BEO of Bangalore North (3). The teacher had not come to school on Wednesday when he went for investigation.

Boy under treatment

A day after the incident, the nine-year-old boy is in Bowring Hospital. His uncle Nadeem told The Hindu he would be taken to Victoria Hospital for a root canal. The uncle added that they wanted the boy to return to school as final exams were only a few months away but he was concerned that the school was yet to respond to the incident.

School headmistress Neena Abraham said she had questioned Nirmala after receiving a call from the parents. The teacher reportedly said the boy “accidentally fell when she tried to pull him”. She was also asked why the incident was not reported to the principal. After he was injured, it is learnt that the boy was also made to attend sports day practice sessions.

A member of the school management, P.P Uthup, said “necessary action will be taken up by the school after investigation of the matter”. He said the principal came to know of the incident only in the evening as she was away at the time.