A private school in India is being investigated for allegedly locking up 19 students who were not able to pay their school fees on time.
The children, aged 5-14, were reportedly held against their will for two hours inside a classroom in Saritha Vidya Niketan, Hayathnagar. They were also prevented from appearing at their annual examination which started last weekend, according to Times of India.
Authorities were immediately notified after one of the students’ parents discovered the illegal detention. Local news organizations and activists eventually learned about the confinement as well.
“This act of the school is a severe violation of child rights and amounts to illegal confinement of children. We demand a criminal case against the school management,” children rights activist Achyuta Rao was quoted as saying.
A case under the Juvenile Justice Act has been filed by the police against the school management.
“My daughter borrowed a mobile phone from a parent who had come to pay the fee and called her mother to inform her about the confinement,” a parent revealed.
“She said they were `locked’ in a room and weren’t allowed to write the exam. I asked her to pass on the phone to the principal or any staff in the vicinity, but they refused to talk. Immediately, we rushed to spot and were shocked to see even a five-year-old among the detained students,” he narrated.
“We do have dues, but my wife already met the principal and assured the payment by April. She had also requested them to allow our children to sit for the exam. The school management should have called parents if there was an issue, this is no way to treat kids,” the father pointed out.
Parents of the alleged victims have expressed that not only were the children “illegally confined,” they were also “humiliated”.
“The school management’s behaviour was uncalled for,” said Local police inspector J Narender Goud. “We found the children, aged 5 to 14 years, locked in a room. They were released and allowed to take the exam after our intervention. When questioned about their action, the management said it was because the students’ parents had delayed in paying their fees.”
At the time of writing, the school authorities were not able to provide a comment on the allegation.