WEEKS AFTER the UT Administration had told the Punjab and Haryana High Court that some of the city schools and parents are hesitant to appoint transgenders in school buses, it has finally decided to go ahead with the High Court’s suggestion.
The UT Education Department has given an option to the city schools and the Chandigarh School Bus Operators’ Welfare Association to appoint female attendants or the transgenders in the buses ferrying schoolchildren.
Director Public Instructions (Schools) Rubinderjit Singh Brar said, “At a recent meeting held with the UT Adviser, everybody arrived at a consensus that the appointment of transgenders as attendants in school buses be allowed. It is up to the transporters now to appoint the transgenders, though it will not be mandatory. There will be options of appointing female attendants or transgender attendants with the qualifications required. There is no need for any surveys as well, since we do not have any objection to it.”
Commenting on the administration’s decision, some parents stated that nobody could have any problem with the appointment of transgenders in school buses as long as they were mentally fit and could take care of the children right from their respective homes to the school gates and vice versa.
Sushmita Choudhary, a resident of Sector 23, said, “I think gender should never be a part of the debate. How does it matter if we have a male attendant, female or a transgender? The criteria should be to see how the person is and if he/she is capable enough to take care of the children travelling in the bus.”
Rajesh Gupta, another city resident whose son is a student at Saupin’s School, Sector 32, feels that instead of female or male attendants in the school buses, the transgenders will take special care of the children. “I think the transgenders will understand the value of their job more than anyone because these days, people do their job only for the salary they get,” Gupta said.
H S Mamik, president of the Independent Schools’ Association, said, “I had already welcomed the move to appoint transgenders in school buses. We never had any objection and we still go by that and are ready to obey the High Court’s orders. When Punjab and Haryana have approved it, why should we not do it? We will certainly employ transgenders in our buses. I think that our administration should also make similar efforts as the city schools are being asked to make by giving them jobs as per their qualifications.”
R D Singh, principal of New Public School, Sector 18, said, “Punjab and Haryana High Court had asked us if we have any objection to appointment of transgenders in school buses. We have replied that we do not have a problem at all as long as the transgenders fulfil the qualifications required. I cannot say if parents will be comfortable or not.”
Kavita Das, principal of St John’s School, Sector 26, said when her school had admitted economically weaker section students 17 years ago, it had created a furore. Similarly, people might object to the appointment of transgenders. “We need to understand that the transgenders are as much human beings as us but they are badly neglected. The education department can change the qualification criteria for the transgenders because the ones who would be looking for jobs are not necessarily educated enough,” she added.