Posts Tagged ‘bandh’

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

On Monday September 19th afternoon, I got an SMS from my kid’s school that they are closing on Tuesday in light of the bandh. I was a little troubled with the SMS and I called up the school and spoke with the head teacher to understand how the decision to shut the school down was arrived at. The teacher said it was a management decision and she had no role in it. I urged her to have a makeup day for the school. She said they were going to do that anyway.

Tuesday evening I got another SMS saying that the school is closed for the rest of the week. This SMS worried me and I wanted to get to the bottom of the issue. My concern was about Glendale management taking such an important decision as shutting down the school for a week without consulting the parents. So, I decided to meet the head mistress.

I went to the school with another parent who is a good friend of ours. We requested the head mistress to help us understand how the decision to close the school down for a week was arrived at. Here are the reasons she gave-

Originally the management planned to keep the school open throughout the week. However, on Monday the 19th, separatist hooligans descended on a nearby Kendriya Vidyalay and asked the principal to close the school. When he refused, they physically assaulted him. Later in the day, Chirec school bus was stopped by separatists. It was stranded for sometime after which it was let go. On top of this, schools have been getting more phone calls than usual from separatist outfits urging them to close the school.

Taking all these factors into consideration, managements of different schools in the neighbourhood consulted each other and decided to close the schools down en-masse for at least a week.

I wished the schools showed a bit more courage, but their plight is understandable. The risk of their buses and their staff becoming targets of separatist attacks is their biggest concern.

My main complaint with the school management was that they haven’t consulted the parents when they took as serious a decision as closing the school down for a week. The head mistress argued that they didn’t have time to take parents into confidence as it was an emergency decision. I urged her to consider having a parents meeting at least now so that we can brainstorm together as a team about how to handle any future bandh calls. The head mistress agreed to a parents meeting and I am hoping it will happen soon.

Now to the question of what can parents do in this situation?

First and foremost, we as parents need to come to a realization that police forces are rarely effective when it comes to people’s movements. With thousands of schools and lakhs of children, there just isn’t enough police force to protect all. This problem is universal and applies to more developed societies too. Take for example, 1992 riots in Los Angeles, or last year’s riots in France, or this year’s riots in UK.

Here is my view on how this problem should be tackled:

  • Clearly school buses are an easy target for separatists. On the days when a bandh call is given, instead of sending kids in the school bus, parents should drop off their kids at school.
  • Parent groups should identify children that do not have conveyance and have them carpool with families that live close by.
  •  Lastly and most importantly, parents should volunteer to defend the school staff and children on bandh days. It is not needed for all the parents to be at the school. A small group of 20-30 volunteers is all it takes. This, in my view, is the best way of stopping the separatists from forcibly closing down our kids’ schools.

If you are a parent and your child’s school has been closed down, please consider meeting the school management. Urge them to make parents part of the decision making process. Mobilize other parents to the best of your ability and brainstorm ways in which you can ensure that the schools stay open. Our children have lost too many school days this year. Parents need to take a more active part in ensuring that schools run smoothly. This responsibility cannot be outsourced to the government. After all, this is about your child’s future.

Save Andhra Pradesh! 

 

Nalamotu Chakravarthy

 

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