Schools are called the Centers of Education but here is a case where they are discriminating against a girl because she has cerebral palsy. Do they even know and understand what cerebral palsy is..
Shocking!!! that they would show this child the door!. Children like Darshana need care not disdain. Read on…..
While all her classmates are enjoying their summer holidays,Darshana Ramgiri is worried about her future.The nine-year-old has been told by St Columba High School at Nana Chowk,where she studies,to leave.
Headmistress Annette Lobo justifies the decision on the grounds that the girl has cerebral palsy and has to be physically carried up to her classroom every day.The child cant do anything on her own.Can I keep a special teacher just to look after her she said.
However,this correspondent saw Darshana walking about in her house with a slight limp.I carried a schoolbag and tiffin to my classroom on the first floor everyday, said the girl who passed third standard with 44.5 % marks.In fact,she scored 65 % in maths.A report from Sion Hospital dated April 19,2010,says Darshanas IQ is normal.
Cerebral palsy is caused by damage to the motor control centres of the developing brain and can occur during pregnancy,during childbirth or after birth up to the age of three.In Darshanas case,it has affected her gait and weakened her right hand.She writes with her left hand but is slower than normal children and her writing is bad,though not illegible.
Darshanas mother says that none of her teachers ever complained about her but the headmistress insists that she should be put in a special school meant for retarded children.Darshanas mother alleges that she was forced to write a letter saying that they were withdrawing Darshana from the school due to personal reasons for fear that the kid would be failed.Lobo denies this,calling Darshanas mother a liar.
Psychiatrist Harish Shetty,who has taken up the cause of dyslexic and differently abled children,intervened on behalf of Darshana but to no avail.Schools are known not by the academic feats of their students but by their response to those who are differently abled, he said.Incidentally,St Columba High School,established in 1832,was the first school for girls in Mumbai.Today,its three buildings set in a wooded campus cater to 1,800 students.
Educationists and mental health activists say Darshanas case is a blatant violation of child rights and a negation of the principle of inclusive education enunciated in Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan.
Sangeeta Shrivastava,principal of SVT School and T P Bhatia Jr College in Kandivli,said it was the schools responsibility to sensitise children about disability.We cannot be hypocrites and teach one thing in value education classes but practice the opposite, she said.Because of her schools initiative,the classmates of a polio-striken student are protective about him.
Among the famous people with cerebral palsy are renowned physicist Stephen Hawking,Nepali literary figure Jhamak Ghimire,Irish poet and painter Christy Brown who wrote and painted with his left foot and Stephen Hopkins,signee of USs Declaration of Independence who said,My hand trembles but not my heart.
Source: The Times of India School shows girl with cerebral palsy the door