|The notice on the Christ Church school gate on Thursday. Picture by Bhabatosh Chakraborty
Christ Church Girls’ High School will reopen on Friday after a forced two-week break, but guardians coming to drop their wards won’t be allowed into the premises.
Police will guard the gate to the Dum Dum institution that had been vandalised on September 12 by a mob that included guardians, many of whom were caught on camera destroying school property.
“Henceforth, parents will have to drop their children at the school gate,” an official said. “They will be allowed till the collapsible gate of the building to pick up their wards after school gives over.”
Any parent entering the premises must carry an authorised duplicate of his or her child’s identity card.
The police deployment at Christ Church is expected to continue at least till the Puja vacation. “They may continue beyond that, if required,” an official said.
The school is hiring a private security agency that will provide a team of six to guard the campus.
Christ Church had never felt the need to have private security until the trial by mob two weeks ago that forced the police to arrest principal Helen Sircar. The vandalism was over the death of Class V girl Oindrilla Das, who died days after being allegedly harassed by some senior girls in school.
The Church of North India held a meeting with teachers of the school on Thursday as part of a confidence-building campaign. Principal Sircar could not attend the meeting because she is on leave.
Reverend Ashoke Biswas, bishop of the Calcutta diocese and chairman of Christ Church, urged the teachers to move on. “What has happened is unfortunate. But let us look ahead instead of brooding over the past,” a source quoted him as saying.
The chairman, who was abroad when the school was vandalised, was visiting the campus for the first time since the incident.
Biswas said principal Sircar was free to decide when she would like to get back to work. “The principal has applied for leave, citing her health. We have granted her leave and will consider her joining the school when she informs us.”
Assistant headmistress Simanti Gonsalves will be in charge in Sircar’s absence.
“Parents send their children to our school with a certain trust and objective and we as a missionary school have always maintained the trust and respect in the past. We will continue to do so in future by offering a high standard of education. I have appealed to the teachers to continue the tradition,” Rev. Biswas said at a news conference after his meeting with the teachers.
Shane Calvert, the MLA representing the Anglo-Indian community, said there was a lot to look forward to despite what had happened. “The death of the child was a tragedy. It was sad that some parents turned vandals, but in the end for the Christian community and Bengal it was a happy ending and we have a lot to look forward to,” he said.