Disillusioned, further…

Just wrapping up the school issue.

After 2 weeks of all this hullabaloo, the school seems terrified. The story seem to have spread like a wild fire, thanks to parents like me who’s been telling all and sundry, so they can watch out for their kids. So the authorities have suddenly woken up to the fact that its dangerous to let parents inside for more than ten minutes. Especially when there are lot of prospective parents walking into school everyday.

Now parents have been kindly requested to drop their wards in school and go back. No more waiting in the school. And when we come back, we face a security guard and a grilled gate in the lobby and a stern, sour-faced coordinator who lets the children one by one to their waiting parents outside.

On the personal front, my son has not got admission anywhere else. So I just have to brave it out in this fabulous school till November. And pray everyday that I’ll get a positive response from a nice school by then.

The silver lining is that my son seems to be enjoying the school.

Thanks so much, all you guys, for holding my hand through all this. It meant a lot to me when most people were asking me to keep off such things, how my kid may be targeted by the school for my impudence, etc.

My next post is going to be cheerful, I promise.

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Disillusioned…

The last few days have been a whirl…

The day after the Principal’s refusal to meet us, I sat in the school’s lobby waiting for my son.

I was depressed.

I’d spoken to the affected mother and told her subtly, how the school had turned tables and claimed that she’s not a mentally stable person… Told her I’m pulling my son out of this school.

She was still feeling down. Told me she’d just transferred her older son to this school and she’s planning to withdraw him too.

I assured her that its the right decision and asked her look for a school where they treat parents with due respect.

I didn’t send my son to school for the next few days. Went school-hunting. Knocked on the doors of 2 reputed schools in the neighborhood. But since this is not the season for admissions, both the schools asked me to come back next year, in spite of me explaining the reason for the desperate need to change schools.

One school however was sweet enough to let me apply and promised to add us to their waiting list.

On the first school’s suggestion, I tried another school yesterday, but the response was negative.

In the night I touched base with the affected parent.

She said the child has resumed going to school. Because she gets too depressed at home. And she has to prove to people that she’s mentally stable. She also said that she feels this is not going to affect her son in anyway since he’s in a higher grade. So not withdrawing him from this school either.

However she’ll start looking for another school for her daughter next year. Till then she’ll attend this school.

Am I the only fool here, who fought so crazily for a cause, kept my overactive son home for almost a whole week, ran from one school to another, begged and pleaded my case to various authorities and ended up with nothing but bouts of headaches and depression?

I ask myself as I bang my head against the wall.

Stupid, stupid, stupid me…

The death of innocence

What’s the point in having a blog if I don’t air my grievances?

Here’s my recent one.

My son’s classmate was molested in school. She’s three and a half.

Her only fault is , she’s born to parents who are not aggressive. Who are unaware of their rights as parents. Who are not capable of taking the school to task.

I came to know of it by chance. When I contacted the mother on an issue not connected to school.

It was 2 weeks after the incidence, when she blurted it out to me . Said she’s been meeting people in school, but though in the beginning the school authorities seemed supportive, they refused to admit the offender was a staff of the school. They tried to brush it off by saying it could have happened in the restroom when she went unaccompanied. The offender could have been a cleaner who’s not in their rolls. From an agency whose under a contract with the school. But we’ll make sure from now on all the students will be accompanied to the restroom by an ayah.

She told them that she had her daughter examined by a doctor who was horrified and said she was lucky that her daughter spoke to her about it. There are lot of children who silently suffer because they’re too young to know that its an offence. What if he’s still lurking in school? He might try the same thing on another child.

The school did not take her seriously and made her sign a letter in English. Its content was not explained to her.

I was furious and told her the school had given her the brush off because she’s not aggressive. I promised to round up some more parents and confront them together.

During the course of the weekend, me & a fellow-parent called as many parents we could. We joined forces, entered the school only to find the coordinator too busy to meet us. When we raised a hue & cry, another coordinaor who hasn’t heard the problem before (we believe you) came forward to address us. After we briefed her on what had happened, she assured us that the school will take necessary action and how they’re equally concerned, but we as parents should not spread this among other parents since it’ll damage the school’s reputation. Fair enough, we said. Catch the offender and kick him out and we’ll keep our promise.

She asked us to wait in the lobby, till the Kindergarten coordinator and the principal came back from whatever was keeping them.

So we waited.

A little later the affected parents walked into the office again to see if they can secure a picture of the employees of the school, so they can make their daughter identify the offender at home when she was in the right mood.

The minute they went inside office, The principal and 2 more coordinators came back, hijacked them into the Principal’s office, before we had the chance to join them.

We waited outside, even after our kids had come back from their classes and were ready to go home.

The parents emerged a while later to tell us the Principal was furious that they’d told other parents. And had asked her to send us home, since she had no time to speak to us.

“We are taking necessary action. You can tell the other parents the same” was her instruction to the parents.

We have a handful of celebrity parents at school and its hilarious to see the correspondent & the princi fawn all over them whenever they walk in to drop or pick up their kid.

They even held up the Annual day celebrations till all the celebrity parents had taken their seats in the auditorium.

It got me thinking, will she have reacted the same way had it been a parent who’d been atriculate in English and was well-connected?

Had we been told so subtly to get out of their premises, if one of us waiting parents had been a celebrity?

And you know what takes the cake?

When a friend called the school to find out if this incident about child abuse was true, the coordianator tells her breezily, “oh, nonsense! the mother is mentally disturbed due to some harassment at home and is just spreading stories…”

Even if that’s true, how will a father go through his wife’s stories and bring harm to his own daughter’s name?

Which mother, however disturbed, would say something so shocking about her own daughter?

For what gain?

The child is now undergoing counselling to come out of the trauma. The parents are harrowed and has totally lost faith in people.

Now my ego is hurt too, because I’m not entitled to see the principal to address any issue because I’m not a celebrity mom.

A friend told me this is the trend with schools. They’ll never admit to any mistakes on their part and hush up anything unpleasant. When a similar incident occurred at her daughter’s school (very reputed school in the city for years, by the way) the parents had to fight tooth and nail to kick out the offender. The explanation the school gave was that he was on their roll for 30 years and they just cannot dismiss him in one day.

I’m depressed to see schools take the offender’s side (however subtle) to safeguard their reputation than the child side, whose whole life is ruined.

I’m pulling my son out of this school where the discrimination is so high even in such a serious issue as child abuse.

I’ shall try once more to see the principal to get my son’s transfer certificate if not for anything else. (Not that he needs it for preschool)

And if I get the brush off again, I shall reveal the school’s name here.

Book review – The Tambrahm Bride

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I just finished this book called The Tambrahm Bride by Kausalya Saptharishi.

The title promised a fun read, something like ‘No onions, no garlic’ by Srividya Natarajan. But I was disappointed with this one. One could have done so much more with this theme.

While its humorous in bits, poignant in places, it lacks an overall warmth. There’s nothing spontaneous in the writing. Each sentence seem to have been crafted with so much care, (I’m sure) re-written a hundred times, that it feels so false. Not a book from the heart, but feels like a carefully rehearsed and written essay.

Care has been taken not to hurt anybody’s sentiments, so everyone is sugar and honey to each other. All the characters feel like they’re straight out of a Karan Johar flick.

If only she’d used the same candidness to describe other characters as she had with the 25 grooms and their families! They were funny. Each of them a real character! But everybody else is just perfect.

Perfect mom. Perfect daughter. Perfect father. Perfect brother. Perfect grandmother. Perfect aunts and cousins. After 25 disasterous grooms, a perfect husband. Perfect children. Perfect ending. Yawn!

The sad thing is, this book with the storyline and circumstances captured could have been a laugh-riot and a profoundly poignant read at the same time.

And the graphic designer in me feels the cover could have been so much better!