Uniform row leaves students in the lurch

Uniform row leaves students in the lurch
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Parassala: The students of Chengal Government Boys LP School near here in the Thiruvananthapuram district are in a fix following a row over their new uniform.

The students are caught in the crossfire between Parassala block panchayat president V R Saluja and Chengal panchayat president Vattavila Rajkumar, and the twist in the tale is that both belong to the same party -- the CPM.

The trouble started about 45 days ago, when the PTA decided to introduce new uniforms for Tuesdays and Thursdays. The school PTA, under its president Sunikumar, moved an application to the block panchayat to distribute one pair each of uniform to 70 students as the school was cash strapped. Saluja arranged for 50 uniforms in her personal capacity as the block panchayat didn’t had any scheme to distribute uniforms. The PTA took the initiative to buy clothes and stitch uniforms, but the money was paid by Saluja, who distributed the uniforms on November 1, the Kerala formation day.

It is learnt that Rajkumar instructed the headmistress to not allow students to wear the new uniform to the school, and the next day those wearing the new uniforms were not allowed to board the school bus.

It is alleged that Rajkumar thrashed Sunikumar in the presence of headmistress and others, when the PTA president went to the panchayat office to enquire about it. Though a complaint was lodged at the Parassala police station, the police are yet to launch a probe into the incident.

The decision of the school authorities to bar students wearing new uniforms from boarding the school bus had invited flak from many quarters. And the explanation for this decision was that it was taken at the behest of panchayat president Rajkumar. Later, the PTA arranged conveyance for students who were left stranded on the roads. Sunikumar had resigned as PTA president as the school headmistress didn’t allow a student, who wore the new uniform, to attend classes too.

School headmistress Bindhu Rani said that Rajkumar threatened that the panchayat won’t support the school if the students were allowed to wear the new school uniforms. Parents and well-wishers of the school are up in arms against the school’s action to forbid students from wearing new uniforms.

Giving his side of the story, Rajkumar said that the PTA didn’t inform him about the decision on the new uniform though he was the ward member of the area.

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