St Xavier’s School in Raiganj. Picture by Nantu Dey
Raiganj, Sept. 15: The North Dinajpur district administration today asked the St Xavier’s School near here to form an anti-ragging committee in 24 hours, instal CCTV cameras on the campus and hold meeting with guardians once a month to prevent harassment of junior students by seniors.
The recommendations were issued by the Raiganj subdivisional officer who conducted an inquiry into the allegation of junior students’ torture by seniors and the school authorities perceived indifference towards the complaints.
The school, located at Mirual on the outskirts of Raiganj, had witnessed demonstrations by parents on Friday and Saturday. They protested the principal’s alleged refusal to take action against students who physically harmed the juniors.
Nitish Dhali, the SDO in charge of Raiganj, said today: “As allegations of ragging of junior students by seniors were levelled by guardians, we visited the school yesterday. We inspected the campus and also spoke to the principal and other representatives of the institution.”
About setting the anti-ragging rules, he said: “We issued a set of instructions to the school and if they are not adhered to, the administration will intervene and take steps against the institution. We will also refer the matter to the Council for ISC Examinations, New Delhi, to which the school is affiliated.”
The SDO visited St Xavier’s yesterday with the district inspector of schools to probe into the charges of harassment. Dhali said more details were being collected to probe if the allegations of ragging were true.
Administrative sources said the school had been asked to form the anti-ragging panel of representatives of the institution and guardians within 24 hours.
“If anyone raises the allegations of torture in future, the committee will investigate and find out whether the charges are right. Also, CCTV cameras have to be installed in the corridor leading to the toilets, behind the stage in the auditorium, in the hall and in the playground. There should be a proper mechanism to monitor the video live. The school will also have to hold meetings with parents and hear them, at least once in a month,” said a source.
St Xavier’s School is co-educational and has over 2,000 students from LKG to Class XII.
The parents, who have come under the Guardians’ Forum of St Xavier’s School, however, are not ready to believe that the administration’s directives will bring about any change in the functioning of the institution.
“We appreciate the administration for being so prompt in probing the charges and laying down rules for the school. However, the principal and representatives of the management run the institution in an autocratic manner and we have serious doubts about the efficacy of the directives. We would urge the administration to keep a close watch over the institution and in case the school fails to implement the directives, proper steps should be taken” said Nirmal Kundu, the secretary of the forum.
He said the guardians were worried about the safety of their wards studying in lower classes.
“Every guardian who has his son or daughter in lower classes is living with a feeling of insecurity. The children are equally morose and don’t want to go to school. It is high time that the school management changes it style of functioning and takes steps to prevent the torture of our children. Otherwise, the authorities will have to face protests again,” he added.
Alban Minz, the principal, and teachers refused to take questions from the media today also.