Maharashtra Navnirman Sena President Raj Thackeray expressed his “anger” over the brutal murder of a minor student in Ryan International School’s Gururgam branch and other similar incidents in public and private schools.
In a direct letter to the principals and managements of all schools in the state on the question of overall safety of students, Thackeray said: “I am writing to you in an extremely resentful and angry state of mind as I am seeing an increase in incidences of molestation of students, both boys and girls.”
Seven-year-old Pradhuman Thakur was found with his throat slit inside the school premise in Haryana last week.
Thackeray said it was sad how children – who are the future of the country – are not safe in their own schools.
Such incidents somewhere reflect the carelessness of both the school administration and the government towards students’ safety, he added.
Thackeray pointed out that as a society, “we are answerable as these occurrences bring shame and also raise a question on the credibility of the entire education system”.
He said it was unfortunate the government authorities do not treat the issue as significant and so no efforts were underway to address the students’ security concerns in any manner.
“I consider all children of Maharashtra as my own… The people in the school administration should take vigilant measures to prevent anything that harms the safety of the children,” Thackeray urged.
Parents believe that the school treats their children as their own and leave them in schools for significant amount of time owing to the underlying trust they have in the institutions, he said.
“Any carelessness towards this issue will imply a breach of trust that the parents have placed in you… I shall not tolerate this.
“Because of the grave incidents that have occurred in the past few months, the trust of the parents in the system has been shattered,” Thackeray said cracking the whip on the schools.
Soliciting cooperation and offering the MNS’ support, he provided a helpline number and email which the school managements could contact for any assistance in implementing safety measures in their institutions.
At least three principals and trustees in private schools of Mumbai and Thane – who preferred anonymity – confirmed receipt of the letter on Saturday and said they would study the contents before commenting on it.