A class IX student of Cambridge High School, Indiranagar, committed suicide on Tuesday night last week, allegedly because of 'harassment' by the school management.
According to police officials directly involved in the investigation, Parthiban, 16, had failed in 3 subjects in the recently concluded internal exams. The school, worried about its pass percentage in the SSLC, reportedly asked Parthiban's parents to remove him from the school and take a transfer certificate (TC).
Police believe that this step by the school did not land well with Parthiban, who may have been depressed over this and ultimately committed suicide when his parents, Rajendra, a vegetable vendor, and mother Sridevi, a domestic worker and cook, were out on work. Around 9.30 pm Tuesday, Rajendra returned home and found that the door was locked. Upon getting no response, he broke open the door only to find Parthiban hanging from the ceiling fan. The boy had left no note behind. The boy was rushed to a nearby hospital, where he was declared brought dead.
"The family filed a complaint saying the class teacher, the principal and an administrative officer harassed and tortured Parthiban, pushing him to take the extreme step. Based on their complaint, we have registered an FIR against the school management for abetment to suicide," police officials investigating the case said.
The news of Parthiban's suicide triggered protests near the Jeevan Bima Nagar police station as well as Cambridge School, located a few metres behind the station. The boy's residence is also near the school. Around 2.30 pm, locals sat on a dharna in front of the police station.
The protest was called off when DCP (East) N Satheesh Kumar arrived and assured the protesters of a proper investigation and action against the school management if they are found guilty. The protesters finally left around 6.30 pm.
As the Jeevan Bhima Nagar inspector is under suspension following the custodial death of a cook a few weeks ago, the investigation of the case has been handed over to Byappanahalli police inspector, Mohan Kumar.
According to investigating officers, representatives of the school management were called to the police station so that the police could take their statement. However, it is extremely shocking that in such a sensitive matter of a student suicide that many of them did not turn up. Some of them were out of station while others were busy conducting SSLC exams. The school did not respond to calls.
"The protesters demanded that the school pay a compensation of Rs 50 lakh to the parents. We spoke to the school management, who admitted that they had decided to give Parthiban his TC and had conveyed the same to his parents as well, about 5-6 days ago. This is usually done when a student performs poorly, consistently. We are investigating the case and will bring it to a logical end." - N Satheesh Kumar, DCP East
Needless to say, this tragedy could have been averted at a number of intervention points. While the first port of call could have been implementation of CCE as mandated under the RTE act, this would have ensured that weaker children would have got corrective training throughout the year rather than being asked to leave the school. Secondly, the school authorities could have handled the situation more tactfully rather than talking about handing out the TC. Finally, students need to be inculcated with Emotional Intelligence in school and at home today to at least confide into somebody before taking such drastic steps. Lets hope all the concerned parties picked up some lessons.
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