Five people were arrested on charges of vandalism after the principal of a government school in Yamuna Vihar was gheraoed Tuesday by almost 300 angry students and their parents, who claimed she had “deliberately failed” them.
The incident took place in the Government Girls’ Senior Secondary School (GGSSS) Tuesday afternoon, when some students of Class IX and XI and their parents allegedly held Principal Kanchan Jain hostage for over two hours and damaged school property. They accused Jain of “deliberately failing” them in the re-examinations and said she had failed over 90 per cent of the students in the two classes.
Principal Jain refused to comment on the matter.
According to police, they received a call about the incident at 1.10 pm, telling them that the parents had gheraoed the principal and were not allowing her to leave. “When we reached, we saw almost 60 parents and more than 300 students surrounding the principal’s office,” said a police officer. He added that police had to call in 50 additional personnel to bring the situation under control and that the principal had locked herself inside her room to avoid any trouble.
During the incident, parents damaged flower pots, blackboards as well as a window of the principal’s car, said Additional DCP (Northeast) Rajendra Kumar Sagar. He added, “They were also throwing stones. We did not resort to lathicharge… we managed to escort the principal out of the school by 4.30 pm.”
According to the police, three men and two women, all parents of students, were arrested for allegedly inciting the crowd to resort to violence.
However, students said some of them were “being failed” for years. “Yesterday, we got to know that again, most of us have been failed. In my section, 43 of 55 students have been failed. There are some students who are being failed for 2-3 years in a row.,” said a student of Class IX.
“When students asked the principal to show them the answersheets and point out where they went wrong, she refused. She locked herself in… some people then did some tod-phod (vandalism),” said the student.
He alleged, “Every year students of Class IX and XI are failed like this. This year too, the principal had anticipated trouble so she had called the police in advance. As the situation escalated, more policemen were deployed and they used lathicharge. We and our parents were thrown out of the school,” added the student.
On why so many students were failing the exams, Atishi Marlena, adviser to Education Minister Manish Sisodia, said, “The problem is because of the no-detention policy, students who may not have the learning levels of the class they are studying in are also passed, which is not to say that the policy should be done away with. But when they reach Class IX and fail, their parents can’t understand how that happened. Similarly, in Class XI, there is a quantum leap in the curriculum and subjects become more complex, which is why many students start taking tuitions,” she added.
Saumya Gupta, director of the Directorate of Education, said, “Each parent was given the option of checking their child’s answersheet but no one opted for that. Why would a principal, whose performance is judged on the basis of the students’ performance, deliberately fail them?”