Published: 11th August 2018
Baldwin School is refusing to refund the fees I paid: Parent who was manhandled by teachers
There is a lot of chatter about what Sandeep B C, the parent who has complained about the teachers of Bengaluru's prestigious Baldwin Boys' School will do next, seeing as how he skipped the hearing
Baldwin Boys' High school in Bengaluru is under the pump again. While the first issue cropped up three months ago over overcharging fees for textbooks, now the management and staff have been accused of mistreating a parent. After Sandeep B C, parent of a class 1 student of the school wrote a letter to the Minister for Primary and Secondary Education, N Mahesh, the State Commission for Protection of Child Rights summoned the parent and also the school authorities to appear and explain themselves.
According to the letter written by Sandeep, his wife and he were abused and manhandled by the staff of the school because he had allegedly called the police because the school wasn't allowing children who were late to enter the school.
Baldwin Boys' High School is one of Bengaluru's more upscale schools and has been for over a century now. The school has always boasted of an elite alumni network and boasts of past pupils like composer Sandeep Chowta and fashion choreographer Prasad Bidapa.
When we got in touch with Sandeep, the parent who had sent the complaint and kicked up a row, he said, "When I reached the school it was around 9.10 am and around 10 children were standing outside — waiting for the security guard to let them in. After arguing with the guard for a while, I realised it was futile and so I had called the police because it is the matter of children's safety. In the name of discipline, the school cannot be so cruel to them," and then added quietly, "But the treatment that I received from the staff was not (something that I had ever) expected."
In his complaint, Sandeep alleges that some members of the teaching and non-teaching staff abused him verbally and even went to the extent of assaulting him physically — on the school premises. Embittered and hurt by the treatment, the parent said, "Even after this, my child continued going to school but he was also threatened. As a result, I have asked the school for a Transfer Certificate (TC) and a refund of the fee of Rs 1 lakh that I had paid. They had agreed to issue the TC, but have not responded about the refund. I will wait for one more week and see what action needs to be taken."
Late for school: Policemen talking to the school security guard to allow children inside the school
When we asked him why he did not appear at the hearing held by the KSCPCR, he said that the information came too late. Sandeep explained, "I was informed at around 11.30 am that I have to appear before the Commission, but I could not go because I was out of the city."
Reflecting on the 'punctuality' rule that led to all this brouhaha in the first place, Murali K, another parent whose child attends the same school said, "For the last one month, the school has been following the rule that students have to be inside the premises by 8.20 am. Earlier, there were no such strict rules. Three months ago, we the parents had gone against the school for charging an insane amount of fees for the textbooks and the case is still in the High Court. There was a Parent Teacher Committee in the school but even that was dissolved as we had plenty of complaints against the school."
Responding to the case at hand, he added, "Whatever happened with Sandeep was bad. Nobody can take the law in their hands and being teachers, they are not supposed to mistreat parents. He said that he had got threatening calls from some unknown number asking him not to appear for the summons that was supposed to take place yesterday. Later, I had organised a personal meeting with the Child Rights Commission Chairman and Kripa Alva, a child rights activist. But he did not turn up even for that."
Kripa Alva, noted child rights activist, explained that what happened was untoward and could not be condoned on any level, "It is unconstitutional on the teacher's part that they misbehaved with the parents. I am against this issue and this should not repeat in any other school."
When we called Shaila John, the manager of Baldwin Boys High School, she declined to comment on the issue.