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Principal livid at school closures

A school principal in Hazaribagh is upset with the growing trend of district administrations shutting down schools whenever it gets cold in winter, a practice he feels will discourage children to combat hardships.

Father P.J. James, the Principal of St Xavier’s School, has written a letter to deputy commissioner Sunil Kumar, criticising his decision to shut down schools till Sunday because of falling temperatures.

Father James said on Wednesday that he came to know of Kumar’s decision through newspapers and although a copy of his order was yet to reach him, the school had to cancel classes from preparatory to Class VIII.

“Students get a wrong message when schools are shut whenever the temperature goes up or down a little. We should rather help them to be hardy and teach them to cope with discomforts that are not harmful for health,” Father James told The Telegraph.

Ranchi was the first to come up with a similar diktat on Monday, stretching the winter holidays for classes I to VIII by a week.

The principal also blamed the media for creating a panic-like situation. This, he added, was because Hazaribagh did not have a weather office and newspapers depended on people having temperature measurement devices at homes to file weather reports.

“Unscientific weather reporting causes unnecessary panic. The maximum and minimum temperatures predicted by in Hazaribagh from January 8 to 11 are 22°C and 10°C; 26°C and 12°C; 26°C and 13°C and 25°C and 12°C, respectively. This much of cold can be easily beaten by children with warm clothes,” he said in his letter.

“I request you to take into account the views and opinions of the stakeholders before ordering such weather-related school closures unless it is an urgent, extreme or crisis situation. If possible, please issue advisories for modification of time table rather than orders for closing the schools,” Father James added.

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