SUKKUR: It is common for schoolchildren to squabble and take swipes at one another during a ‘phadda’ outside the classroom. But at Saint Mary’s High School, Sukkur, it was the grown-ups who traded blows - in the principal’s office no less.
Trouble started brewing when Zeeshan Haider, an English teacher at the school, noticed that an eighth-grade student, Ali Haider, was not paying attention in class. Considerably irked, the teacher walked up to the student and asked him why he was so distracted. But when Ali ignored his question, Zeeshan reportedly slapped him and took him to the principal’s office.
While on his way to the office, Ali told Jannat Bibi, his elder sister who studies at the same school, about what had happened. The girl promptly called her mother and narrated the entire incident to her.
While Ali and the teacher were sitting in the principal’s office, the boy’s mother, Naheed Khatri, stormed in and reportedly abused the teacher. The principal, Sr Rosey Yakoob, requested the woman to stop. In response, Ali’s mother hit the English teacher.
The principal intervened and sent the teacher out of her office and the woman also left with her children, threatening of dire consequences.
While talking to The Express Tribune, Zeeshan admitted that he had slapped Ali. “I then asked him to bring his mother [to school] the next day, but he said that she would see me later on in the day,” he said. “She used filthy language, but I controlled myself.”
He claimed that Ali was performing poorly and a letter had recently been sent to his parents. His mother Naheed wrote back on November 12, apologising to the principal.
While talking to The Express Tribune, Sister Rosey Yakoob corroborated the English teacher’s claims. “She used foul language which I cannot repeat. She also slapped the teacher and then I had to intervene.”
The prinicipal was anxious about the impact the incident would have on the school’s reputation. “The school is a very prestigious institute and had never witnessed such ugly incident in its history,” she said. “I see those attacks as slaps on the face of education.” She added that a complaint has been written to the SSP of Sukkur.
Naheed refuted, however, the allegations, claiming that her son had been absent from the school for the last five days. She said that Zeeshan used to charge students Rs20 for each day they were absent. “The teacher demanded Rs100 from my son, but he did not have that amount on him, which is why he was beaten mercilessly.” She added that it was the teacher who had hit her when she went to the principal’s office, not the other way around. The principal, however, denied the claims that Ali had been asked for money.
Later, a large number of teachers and Association of Private Institutions’ office bearers, led by its acting president, Hamid Raza, staged a protest at Dolphin Chowk.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 29th, 2012.
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