Monday, June 14, 2010

School rejects full blame for student’s suicide

A Protestant school in Kolkata at the center of a storm following the suicide of a student who suffered corporal punishment says it deeply regrets the teenager’s death.
But attempts to hold the school “entirely responsible” for the death were “misplaced,” it said.
“We deeply regret the loss of a young life,” said a June 11 press statement from La Martiniere for Boys, a prestigious school managed by the Church of North India.
Rouvanjit Rawla, an eight grader, committed suicide on Feb. 12, four days after his principal caned him.
Corporal punishment was banned in West Bengal state schools three years ago and the death has sparked demands for action against the school.
A June 9 visit to the school by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, found it was still using corporal punishment.
“The idea has always been to inculcate a sense of values among them,” the school said to justify what it described was a need to correct and help children.
Other students at the school seemed surprised at the controversy.
Twelfth grader, Krishnarup Chakravarty, described the principle as “a disciplinarian who combines strictness with concern.” He has introduced extracurricular activities to nurture student talents, Chakravarty said.
Rawla must have committed a “serious” offence to have warranted such a punishment, said Satanik Pal.
Meanwhile, state Education Minister Partho De said on June 11 that the government will introduce measures ensure schools stick to the ban on corporal punishment.

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