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Bapu Deedwania/Mumbai Mirror

Caught smoking on the campus, two Std X boys of Smt Sulochanadevi Singhania School, Thane, ran away from school. When they were found four days later, instead of expelling them, the school director just got them to work on presentations on the ills of smoking  

Mumbai, Aug 13: When two Std X students of Smt Sulochanadevi Singhania School, Thane, ran away after being caught smoking on the premises, the school planned a fitting ‘punishment’. Instead of castigation and threats of expulsion, the school management simply made the boys work on two 15-minute Power Point presentations on the ills of smoking and of running away.

According to sources, the two boys had been caught smoking on campus last week. “They were marched to the principal’s office where the school counsellor and teachers explained the ill effects of smoking and about how they had violated school regulations,” a parent said. The students listened for a while and then suddenly got up and ran, sources said. 

Smt Sulochanadevi Singhania School, Thane

“The entire school machinery was roped in to trace them, to no avail. Their parents were also informed,” said another parent.

Most of the parents who learnt about the incident suggested that the school take stern action against the boys. Some of the teachers also supported the idea, sources said.

The school management subsequently lodged a missing complaint with the police. “After four days it was found that they had reached one of the boys’ grandparents’ house in Uttar Pradesh,” said a parent.

The boys were brought back and produced before the Director of Education for the school, Dr Vijayam Ravi.  After listening to the boys relate their experience Ravi asked them to use the school library and internet facilities and prepare two presentations — one on ‘the harms of cigarette smoking’ and the other on ‘running away from home — is it a solution?’ They were given three hours to complete the exercise.

“The principal of the school then told the boys to present their projects to other Std X students. The school made sure that no one ridiculed or made fun of them. I am happy my son is part of such a school. It was a great effort on the part of the school to choose this method instead of other cruel forms of punishment,” said one of the parents.

Dr Ravi said, “The children had already gone through a lot of trauma. They are in Std X and rusticating them would mean loss of a year or probably more. That is not a solution. The boys were extremely sorry for what they did and promised not to repeat it. I can say that they have learnt a lesson for life. There is no point in being strict without application of mind. Also, they were extremely courageous to come forward and admit their fault before others.”

She added, “We have also made them a part of the school prayer group that is responsible for chanting Shantipath at the assembly. In fact, we have decided that this would apply to other students also who are a bit more restless than others,” she added.


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