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Chennai school slammed for allegedly expelling student for reasons of disability

Disability rights activists in Chennai are angry over reports that a school in the city expelled a child allegedly because he has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). A consumer forum in Chennai has demanded that the school pay a compensation of Rs 20,000 to the student who was discriminated against.

The complaint was filed by the child's father, T Prithviraj against the Narayana E-Techno School.Prithviraj says he enrolled his son in Class 1 in 2017 and was told that the annual fees would be Rs 60,000. The father paid Rs 6,000 during admission and promised to pay the rest very soon.

But within a week the school issued a transfer certificate and expelled the child. Prithivraj filed a complaint and sought for a compensation of Rs 10 lakh for the mental agony. A legal notice was also sent to the school.

Many experts are calling this a clear cut case of discrimination. Chithra Shah, Founder of the Satya Special School, which is an inclusive school in Pondicherry has said this is harassment and needs immediate action.

The authorities at Narayana E-Techno School have clearly violated the laws. How can they expel a child based on their disability? Every child has the right to education and there are laws that support free education to a disabled child. - Chita Shah, Founder, Satya Special School

Shah has also criticized the family for agreeing to accept a compensation amount. "No amount of money can compensate for what the child must have gone through. Now, more schools are going to follow suit. They will discriminate against a disabled child and get away with it by paying a meagre amount as compensation".

The school, on its part, has denied the allegations. Authorities here say that Prithviraj voluntarily withdrew his son from the school. An argument that has not convinced the court.

Subhashini Sankalp, Co-Founder, Sankalp Special School, Chennai, says that the school must issue an apology.

"It is compulsory that all schools must have special educators who reach out to needs and requirements of children with special needs. Every child has the right to education and violating them of their rights is a violation of the law as well".

Hopefully this attention and outrage will serve as a warning to other schools to not discriminate against children with disabilities.

ALSO READ: No clarity on final guidelines for medical entrance test, disabled aspirants still in the dark

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