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Down's-hit Boy Suffers as School Fiddles
January 20, 2015
School says it went by rules, child panel says ruling soon
Mumbai:
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A 16-year-old student suffering from Down's syndrome has been out of school for over six months after he was asked to leave for failing to clear Class IX twice--in 2012-13 and 2013-14.

Down's syndrome is a genetic disorder associated with growth delays, characteristic facial features, and mild to moderate intellectual disability .

The boy , a student of Indian Education Society (IES) Manik Vidyamandir in Bandra, has not been attending school since June 2014. His parents had approached the Maharashtra State Commission for Protection of Child Rights. There were two hearings, in August and September last year, but the family is still awaiting orders.

“The boy has attended the same school for 12 years.It is not possible to shift him to a special school or a different set-up so suddenly . Sitting at home has taken a toll on his mental health and he has been depressed ever since,“ his therapist said, adding that the boy's parents were ready to allow him to take Std VIII exam again. A student of Indian Education Society Manik Vidyamandir, Bandra, who was asked to leave after failing Std IX exams in 2012-13 and 201314, is awaiting orders from the Maharashtra State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (MSCPCR) which has heard his case. At the hearing on August 30, MSCPCR chairperson Ujjwal Ukey said: “The school cannot do this and will have to re-admit the child. We will issue an order to this effect soon.” The Persons with Disabiity Act allows children with disability to remain in school till 18 years.

School authorities were not present at the hearing and submitted their affidavits and presented their case at the next hearing on September 25.

The school authorities claim they have followed rules. “No documents or certificates about the student’s disorder were given to us until we sent the leaving certificate to the parents. We followed the secondary school code which requires a school to issue the leaving certificate if a student fails twice in Class IX,“ said Satish Nayak, trustee, IES.The school education department, too, has submitted its report, saying there is no proof the school was informed about the boy's condition.

“At no point did the school principal or counsellor ask the parents for any certificate.How can the school say it did not know that the boy was suffering from Down's syndrome when he has been in school since class I?” said the therapist.

The boy’s parents want the boy to return to school. “The parents are worried about the child’s health and just want him to be in school, even if he has to sit in Class VIII again,” said the therapist.

“It has been over seven months since he attended school. We are teaching him at home and will try to get him to appear for the board exams as a private candidate next year,” said the boy’s mother.

Nayak refused to comment on the child’s readmission since the matter is sub judice.

Officials at MSCPCR said the order will be issued soon.

“The school was not present for the first hearing and presented its facts through affidavits and at the second hearing in September. There are a few complications in the case and hence the commission is looking at all Acts and provisions before passing an order. It is expected very soon,” said an official.

TIMES VIEW:

This case is not about fixing blame. All parties involved in this -the commission, the school and the parents -should find a solution to this impasse as soon as possible. The child's return to a normal routine is more important than anything else.


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