BIRATNAGAR, May 29: Susmita Acharya of Urlabari-1, Morang, who was brutally thrashed by her teacher on November 23, 2011 after an empty packet of flavored betel nut was found in her bag, has been denied admission by the schools in her area.
Acharya was an eighth grader at Sapta Koshi Higher Secondary School of Urlabari-2 when the teacher, Vaijayanti Mishra, slapped and mercilessly beat her with a pipe on finding a packet of betel nut in her bag. She had to be admitted at Neuro Hospital in Biratnagar and then at Norvic International Hospital in Kathmandu for the treatment of injuries she suffered.
The 14-year-old could return to school only after four months of treatment and had missed her classes in that period but still passed the final examinations with first division.
She started going to her school in the first week of the start of the new session. But the teachers at Sapta Koshi Higher Secondary School did not call her name while taking the roll call of Class IX. When she approached the administration on the fourth day, she was told the school would not accept her as student from the new session. “We have decided not to take you in. You may not come to school from tomorrow,” Sushmita said quoting her principal Lekhnath Bhattarai. The principal repeated his words to her mother Subhadra when she went to the school the next day.
Subhadra then took her daughter to Pashupati English Boarding School in the same area but the school, too, refused to take Sushmita saying there was no seat.
Morang Model Boarding School of Urlabari-3 asked her to sit for entrance exams following which she got new uniform made as she had done well in the exams. But the school, apparently under pressure from her previous school, refused admission to her in the last hour saying it cannot take risk.
“I did not take her to community schools as she has gone to private schools since the beginning of her education. My daughter´s future is in jeopardy now,” Subhadra lamented.
Sapta Koshi Higher Secondary School was forced to pay the bills for her treatment following intense pressure from media and civil society. She is still on medication and the school had promised to ensure free education for her after the incident. “We agreed for an out of court settlement after the school consented to pay for her treatment and ensure free education. But now they have reneged on the promise,” Subhadra added revealing that she did not file an attempt on life case against the teacher as part of the deal.
Sushmita had written to the District Education Office (DEO) on May 16 complaining that her daughter has been denied admission but the DEO has yet to take any action. District Education Officer Yogendra Baral said he has not received any letter from the victim.
The principal of Sapta Koshi Higher Secondary School Bhattarai could not give a satisfactory reason for not taking Sushmita and simply stated that the decision was taken to avoid an awkward situation between the teacher and the student.
Meanwhile, the principal of Pashupati English Boarding School Prem Subedi pledged ignorance about the whole matter and the principal of Morang Model Keshav Rai claimed that Sushmita could not pass the entrance exams.
Child rights activist and Chairman of Education Helpline Rajendra Dhakal accused the schools of colluding to deny Sushmita´s rights to education. “The private schools cannot commit such crime. Expelling students because of a dispute with a teacher is sheer thuggery on the part of schools,” Dhakal said.