The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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School says sorry to nursery student
- 'Teacher had wrung girl's ear, but not pulled out her hair'

Calcutta, March 19: Authorities at Our Lady Queen of the Mission school, where a teacher had allegedly pulled out a tuft of hair from the head of a five-year-old student, admitted today that Ruma Pal had wrung the girl's ear and apologised for it. The school said the teacher had also apologised.

However, the school asserted that the teacher had not pulled out the child's hair.

So far, the school in Salt Lake had maintained that the student had not been 'subjected to corporal punishment'.

'We are sorry about the incident. Even Ruma Pal, the teacher concerned, has said sorry before the managing committee of the school,' Mary Sebastian, the sister in-charge of the primary section told a delegation of Trinamul Congress leaders led by Madan Mitra where The Telegraph was also present.

On Wednesday, the parents of Varnika Gupta had lodged a complaint with police that a tuft of hair from their daughter's head had been pulled out by the teacher because the nursery student had forgotten to bring a plastic bag to carry back her artwork.

The school had stood behind Pal, claiming that investigations that it had carried out revealed that the teacher had not hurt Varnika.

However, school authorities today gave a different version of the incident. Varnika and some other students were destroying the craftwork of other students, they said. 'She is a naughty girl and Pal tried to make her behave properly,' Sebastian said. 'To do so, she wrung the girl's ear, but she did not pull out her hair.'

'It was wrong of Pal to wring the girl's ear instead of informing me about the disturbance in her class. The managing committee of the school will soon take a decision on what action it intends to take,' she said.

However, Sebastian defended Pal. 'She is the longest serving teacher in the Salt Lake branch of our school and is very dear to her students. Though she had wrung the girl's ear, it was not intended to hurt her or meant to be a harsh punishment for the child,' she said.

The sister denied that Pal had yanked off Varnika's hair. 'No hair was pulled off inside the school premises and we are definite about it,' asserted Sebastian.

The medical report of the child, prepared by the Nil Ratan Sircar Medical College and Hospital's dermatology department, suggests that there was no mark of external injury on her head. However, family physician P.P. Gupta said there were bloodstains when Varnika was brought to him for treatment.

'She is still in a trauma and we took her to the neighbour's place to give her some mental relief,' said the child's mother.

Police officials said they would speak to Varnika's classmates and their parents. 'We have already spoken to a couple of students of the class and will speak to others soon,' said a Salt Lake police official.

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