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Kerala school under scanner for alleged abuse of blind student

April 5, 2019

There are hundreds of schools and NGOs that reach out to children with disabilities. But just how safe are they? That's a question that comes up time and again. In February this year, the death of a four-year-old child with autism in a Kolkata school caused concern across the country. There were allegations of abuse regarding a disabled child at a therapy centre in Thiruvananthapuram last year.

Now a school in Ernakulam is under scanner for the alleged abuse of a blind child because he did not pay his examination fees. The boy, a class 2 student, was made to stand under the scorching sun for over two hours by school authorities.

Reports are that there was another child as well who was subject to the same treatment. One of them collapsed and even hospitalised. The incident happened at an unaided school at Karumalloor in Ernakulam. The Kerala State Child Rights Commission has registered a case against the school management.

So, who does this happen time and again despite laws that exist to prevent them and protect our children?

Shailja Sharma, a lawyer who specialises in cases pertaining to disability laws says that this is clear case of negligence from school authorities who must be taken to court for such brutality.

According to the law, a disabled child has all the right to a free education. Hence, what the school authorities did is against the law and they must face the consequences. In such cases, parents are the ones who need to be brought to school and questioned as to why they failed to pay the fees. Punishing the child is not what needs to be done. But again, we need to hear their side of the story as well. - Shailja Varma, Lawyer

Seema Lal, Co-founder,TogetherWeCan, a well known parents supports group in Kerala says that such issues must be dealt with between adults.

"Whether a child or disabled or not, they do not deserve to be treated like this. Parents are the ones who have to pay the fees for the child. How can the school management abuse the child for that? It is sad to see how children are penalised for such things. Being an educational institution, the school must be aware of rights of children", says Lal.

Disability tights groups are seeking answers for the abuse that the blind student had to undergo. But what this also points to is for parents to come together in various states to form a support group to better fight for their children's rights.

ALSO READ: New study underlines how kids with autism are more vulnerable to abuse at schools, therapy centres



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