‘Matter already resolved, with children offered school of their choice’
Srinagar, Aug 27: Private Schools’ Association of Kashmir (PSAK) today lashed out at a small section of unprofessional media for making news out of misery of two minor children at Welkin School Sopore without getting into the facts and approaching various forums of grievance redressals.
In a statement issued to KNS, the Association said that in a sensitive issue involving minor girl students, media should have exhibited caution by not parading the girls before world. The Association gave the complete event of happenings.
On 20th July a girl student from Class 7th was caught with an expensive mobile phone in the school premises. This is in complete violation of government order wherein mobile phones are banned in schools. After that the school administration asked the student to get their parents and explain the position. Till that time everything was fine but the parents didn’t pay any heed to the complaint and instead the mother of the student called on a teacher and used extreme abuses against the teacher. It shocked the entire teaching fraternity. The staff jointly decided that strict action be taken in this regard.
Just as issue was to be taken in appropriate authorities a particular section of unprofessional media vis-a-vis a particular district reporter with no regards to professionalism raked up the issue. Trying to sensationalize the issue he started a slanted media trial wherein he literally paraded the minor girls before the media. He started making news out of misery of children. The media should have atlas spared the girls and prevent any trauma to them.
The parents at that time didn’t approach any of the grievance cells, but it was the media involvement only. The situation went out of hand with accusations and allegations being leveled against the school without fact checking.
The PSAK, which has grievance cell, took a Suo Moto cognizance of the incident and called on the parents and students to its office. In front of nine member committee the parents were asked, what they wanted. The parents said that the situation has gone extreme bad and they want discharge certificate from the school. They even gave in writing that they want the DC. The Association directed the school to issue DC certificate without any bad remarks. The parents also asked for the seized mobile phone to be returned. Though it is a rule that any such seized mobile is destroyed or not returned, but the school returned the phone too.
The parents also asked for the refund of admission fee, which in no case was acceptable according to rules. But the school again cooperated and decided to refund the fee too.
To safeguard the future of these minor students, the PSAK further offered to parents to admit their students in any school of their choice. Even if that is not the case the PSAK has offered to academically adopt both the children.
The entire issue was settled amicably. On being asked about the news stories published in media, the parents expressed their helplessness as reporters’ barge into their homes and ask the questions.
The Association said that the entire issue was resolved by the grievance cell of PSAK. “Around 7 lakh children study at private schools in Kashmir and such incidents in extreme rare cases are bound to happen when such a huge population and large number of schools are involved,” said B A Shah, PRO PSAK. “But to prevent and redress such issues there are multiple forums like PSAK’s grievance redressal cell, ZEO, CEO, Director Education, Court etc. In no case there is any scope of media trial which destroys lives and scars children for life.”
The Association said that when the school or parents fail to get justice from any of the forums, then people are free to approach media but not use the same for their own means.
The Association appealed the Kashmir Editors Guild to rein in such unscrupulous media persons who are defaming the entire media community. “The irony is that even a local reporter of a respectable national newspaper carried the news in a biased manner,” said Shah. “There was no fact checking and investigation and indicates blight of yellow journalism creeping into otherwise standard Kashmir Journalism scene.” (KNS)