Father of ‘expelled’ girl insists on apology from Assam school

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Guwahati, April 25: The father of a 7-year-old girl has insisted on an apology from a missionary school in Guwahati that allegedly expelled her for being a slow learner.
The Holy Child School authorities on Wednesday called the father for a reconciliation meeting after Utsah, an NGO, took to social media to relate his ordeal. The father had a month ago taken up the matter with the Assam State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (ASCPR), which on April 10 instructed the school not to detain the child and promote her to Class 1.
“I had an hour’s meeting with the principal, vice-principal and three other nuns. They denied having wronged my daughter and said they were willing to take her back. But I insisted on a written apology to my daughter,” the girl’s father told The Hindu.
“They refused to acknowledge that they violated Section 16 of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, by retaining my daughter in kindergarten because she scored poor marks,” he said.
The Section states: “No child admitted to the school shall be held back in any class or expelled from school till the completion of elementary education.”
He also said he admitted his daughter to another school as a temporary arrangement since the new academic session had begun.
The school authorities said their offer to re-admit the girl would remain.
Commission’s step ASCPCR chairperson Sunita Changkakati said the father’s March 18 complaint said his daughter had been expelled from school because of poor grades in her kindergarten class. The school clearly stated the management would not promote her to Class 1 and asked her parents to collect the transfer certificate.
“We sent a clear instruction and recommendation to the school authorities to cancel the expulsion order of the child along with a copy of the same to the Central Board of Secondary Education,”  Changkakati said.
The school authorities replied to the ASCPCR’s letter, denying any form of torture or mental harassment to the child. The commission did not find the school’s response satisfactory and summoned the principal for a case hearing.
“After going through the child’s school performance report and the facts mentioned in the complaint letter, the commission on April 10 instructed the school not to detain the child,” the chairperson said. (Courtesy: The Hindu)