It has won the zonal award for best school in 2014 from the Directorate of Education and has an impressive 98.87 pass percentage for class 12 students, but the Government Co-Education Senior Secondary School in Bhatti Mines is now in the limelight for a different reason.
On Thursday, the school was subjected to a ‘surprise inspection’ by Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia. The inspection was carried out after Sisodia — who holds the education portfolio — reportedly received complaints from residents of the area alleging drug use within the school. A Twitter post by Amar Deep Tiwari, media advisor to the Delhi government, which was re-tweeted by Sisodia, said the vice-principal of the school had admitted that some of his students did consume drugs.
But the government-run school is facing some other issues as well, its vice-principal said on Friday.
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“I was shocked to find that in news reports, the arrest of an alleged drug peddler yesterday was connected with our school. Yes, there was an incident last year when a student was caught with drugs in school but his name was immediately struck off the rolls. I told him that there is an acute problem of drug abuse in Sanjay Colony, an area near the school, but I never said that it happens within our premises,” said Vice-Principal Om Prakash.
A teacher from the school agrees with the vice-principal’s stance. “There are only 28 classrooms to accommodate 38 sections. Ten of these classrooms have as many as 120 children each, with eight students on each desk. Additionally, the classrooms have a low tin roof which makes the heat unbearable. There has been no telephone or broadband connection since January 2015. The school also faces a monkey menace because of which the students lose out on their mid-day meal,” said the teacher.
The school, however, maintains that it is stringent about not allowing any drug-related activity to continue within the school premises.
“After last year’s incident, such incidents have reduced and we haven’t found a single child who consumes drugs inside the school. What they do outside is not in our control because they emulate what they see. If their parents do it regularly, they also acquire the habit,” said the vice-principal.
The students, too, claim that such incidents are few and far between. “I used to see boys smoking behind a fallen tree till last year but now it’s not so common. If someone wants to do it, they just jump the boundary wall to get out of the school,” said a student of class VIII.