The principal of a prestigious city school that has been embroiled in a controversy over allegations that the corporal punishment meted out to a student drove the child to suicide in February last regretted, here on Tuesday, caning the boy, but denied that it led to his death.

“I do not accept that the caning led to the suicide,” said Sunirmal Chakravarthi, principal of La Martiniere for Boys school.

Mr. Chakravarthi regretted caning the child and said that corporal punishment would definitely not be continued in the school and such an incident would not recur.

Describing the sequence of incidents, Mr. Chakravarthi said that on February 8, the child and two of his friends were brought to his office where they were caned.

The child did not attend school for two days after which he was again caught breaking the rules.

This time he was not punished, but Mr. Chakravarthi asked him to bring his father. The child committed suicide the day he was to bring his father to school.

“Why are we being held responsible?” Mr. Chakravarthi said. What happened after the student left school and circumstances at his home must be looked into, he added.

‘Not guilty'

On being asked about calls being made for his resignation, Mr. Chakravarthi said he would not consider resigning as “I do not think I am guilty of anything except caning that boy.”

The February incident of the student committing suicide has stirred up a storm since June 7, after the child's father filed a complaint with the police, charging Mr. Chakravarthi and four other teachers with corporal punishment and torture.

Mr. Chakravarthi said that the school authorities had been subjected to a “trial by media” and asked it to desist from doing so and allow the law to take its own course.

During the day, there was a commotion at the gates of the school when parents and guardians came out in full support of Mr. Chakravarthi and clashed with a section of the media.


The heart of educationJune 27, 2010