The mother of a 15-year-old, who had accused G D Somani School in Cuffe Parade of forcing her to withdraw her “slow learner” daughter months before her board exams, has now made a fresh submission to the Maharashtra State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (MSCPCR), saying the school’s suggestion to students with dyslexia and learning disabilities to “switch to an SSC or NIOS board-based school exhibits differential treatment towards such students”.
“Dyslexia is a state of mind wherein the child has a problem with learning, which cannot be resolved by merely reducing the quantity of matter that has to be learnt,” the parent said in her affidavit.
The principal, in an earlier affidavit to MSCPCR, said currently, there are six students in Class X who are suffering from dyslexia and various other forms of learning disabilities and the school has never treated them any differently.
The girl was denied permission to appear for board exams privately since it is meant only for those students who have left school in July. According to the school, the student’s mother voluntarily took a decision to admit her daughter to Nalanda Academy and accordingly applied for a leaving certificate (LC) on August 22, 2013, after she got admission there.
The principal also mentioned in the affidavit that since G D Somani is affiliated to the ICSE board, he was not fully acquainted with the rules of the SSC board and came to know for the first time that since the LC date is of August 2013, the girl was not eligible to appear for the exam.
“The submission made by the school that it was not aware of the rules and regulations of SSC board based schools is illegal and not tenable. The school has not even completed a decade after conversion to an ICSE board school, from an SSC board school. Till the 2006-07 academic year, G D Somani was an SSC board school. Over 70 per cent of the teaching and administrative staff has not changed since then. Besides, the 50-year-old principal has way too long a career in academics to make such a submission,” the parent alleged in the submission.
The mother said that if the principal admitted that he was unaware of the SSC rules, how was the parent or student expected to be aware of such regulations. “How could the principal give an option without having complete knowledge of the consequences that would arise by exercising such an option. The school (G D Somani) promoted Nalanda Foundation as a ‘school’, while the latter is only a coaching class. Such a submission coming from the school principal only raises a question on their knowledge and education,” said the parent’s submission.