Students in lower classes had no inkling of the incident
Tension gripped Armenian Street in Parry's Corner on Thursday as word spread that a teacher had been murdered in a private school in the area. The St. Mary's Anglo Indian Higher Secondary School which is nestled behind a church is 167 years old. Around 1,500 students study in the school.
The class IX student, who carried a kitchen knife, had attacked a teacher, Uma Maheshwari, while she was correcting notes in a classroom on the first floor of the building. According to a police officer investigating the case, the boy had purchased the knife on Tuesday from a shop for Rs.20 and planned to carry out the act on Wednesday itself.
By noon, parents gathered in front of the school while shocked teachers huddled in a classroom on the first floor. Teachers and parents repeatedly said the incident had caught them by surprise.
Most of the parents and the few teachers who were present in the school repeatedly used phrases such as “it is unbelievable,” “we are shocked,” “we are all upset,” and “we cannot believe how this happened.” The school declared holiday after the lunch break around 11.30 a.m.
N. Punitha and her husband, residents of Broadway, came to the school after hearing from their son, who is in class XII, about the incident. “My son's class was writing a revision test when the students heard the ambulance siren. He told us that the students became agitated on seeing the school authorities scurrying around. The students learnt that a teacher had been injured and that the school had closed for the day. She was a nice teacher. We learnt that the teacher had died, so we rushed to the school.”
According to several parents who had gathered at the school, there have been no complaints about harsh disciplining of students. N.G. Harikrishnan, alumnus and father of two sons who are studying in the school, became emotional. “It's upsetting. I can't believe something like this could have happened in the school,” he said.
Agitated parents blamed it on the influence of cinema. “This is a big disappointment to us. What culture is this? Ban songs like Kolaveri which have a bad influence on children,” said Nath, a parent. Another parent said, “The school ensured that the boys are good [disciplined]. We had no complaints against the teachers.”
While adults discussed the issue and gathered in groups near the school, students in the lower classes had no inkling of the incident. A class VII student who was waiting outside the school gate said he did not know why the school had declared holiday. When asked why he was waiting he said, “I am waiting for the driver of our school van. He is inside the school. The boys sent me to fetch him.”