India Uncut

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Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Mom and Dad and education

Janaki Fernandes of Mid Day reports:
‘Parents who are divorced or on the verge of a divorce need not apply’, said the message on the notice board of Mary Immaculate Primary School at LIC Colony, Borivli.

Said Geeta Ramanna (name changed), a former alumnus of the school, “When I went to enquire about my daughter’s admission on May 13, I was shocked to see the notice. I’ve just gone through a messy divorce with my husband.”

When she asked the school office about the rule, an employee informed Ramanna about the reason, “I was told that fights between divorced parents regarding custody of their children, often spill over to the school."

It might be the school's prerogative to set admission guidelines for their school, but it is equally this blogger's prerogative to describe these guidelines as misguided and insensitive. The school's business is to educate children, and they have every right to pick and choose their students on the basis of their aptitude. But kids who are unfortunate to be part of broken homes should not be punished further by the school. Also, I find their stated reason to be flimsy; I suspect what they are really doing is passing a moral judgement on divorced people, and implicitly affirming their belief in "family values". In all this, it's the child who suffers.

Update: A friend who wishes to remain anonymous writes in:
I was in class 4 when my mother and I moved out of my dad's place. Had to miss a few months of school because of security concerns (hope that doesn't make me sound like a VIP!) and when I was readmitted it was subtly impressed on my mother in the school office that she should try to get back into the "normalcy" of a married life. This in one of the most respected schools in Delhi, and despite the fact that they knew the whole sordid story - that there was alcoholism and violence involved in the marriage, and that going back wouldn't have been safe, let alone "normal", for either of us.

And don't get me started on all the trouble with various forms that had to be filled in during school days, where the process was sometimes delayed for hours because no one could comprehend the concept of parents having different surnames.
amit varma, 11:24 AM| write to me | permalink | homepage

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