PUCL Tamil Nadu& Pondicherry
-finding report on the suicide of Ramu Abhinav and conditions in the Vellammal
On 12/6/2003 and 13/6/2003 various media outlets reported the suicide
of Ramu Abhinav, aged 16, student of class X of Vellammal Matriculation
Higher Secondary School, Mogappair, Chennai. The reports alleged that
he committed suicide as a result of being beaten in his school. Subsequently,
the People's Union for Civil Liberties (Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry) decided
to carry out a fact finding mission on the incident.
following individuals carried out the fact finding mission
Prof. G . Saraswathi Chennai District Unit, PUCL (Tamil Nadu & Pondicherry)
Mr.T.S.S.Mani Chennai District Unit, PUCL (Tamil Nadu & Pondicherry)
Ms.Sheelu Tamilnadu Women's Collective
Ms.Neelavalli Initiatives for Women in Development
Mr.Shankar Gopalakrishnan Chennai District Unit, PUCL (Tamil Nadu &
Ms.Mercy Tamilnadu Women's Collective
Ms.Divya Student and PUCL Volunteer
Ms.Beulah Initiatives for Women in Development
team met the following individuals
1. Eight students of the Vellammal Matriculation School and their parents;
2. Ramu Abhinav's parents;
3. Mr. Jayaraman, Vice President of the Golden Jubilee Flats Residents
4. Deputy Commissioner of Police, Annanagar;
5. The parents of the late student Thoufeeq;
6. Dr. C. Manohar, M.S., Additional Professor of Dept. of Forensic Science
at Kilpauk Medical College.
The team requested appointments with the Chairman of Vellammal Matriculation
School and with the Director of Matriculation Schools, Directorate of
School Education. The former, after agreeing on a time with the team,
never arrived. The team waited an hour and left. The latter declined to
see the team in person. The statements of the management and of the Director
over the phone are recorded below.
All students and parents who were visited requested anonymity, other
than the parents of Ramu Abhinav and Thoufeeq. Those who requested anonymity
are referred to as Case Studies below.
Meeting with Parents and Family Members of Ramu Abhinav
The team met the family of Ramu Abhinav on 17th June 2003. They stated
that the following events had occurred.
Ramu Abhinav's father, Mr.P. R. Sarangapani, is employed in a Co-operative
Bank. His mother, Ms.P.S. Chandrika, is working at the UCMAS mental arithmetic
centre. Ramu Abhinav's only sister, Ms.Sangeetha, is working for American
Ramu Abhinav joined Vellammal Matriculation School in the 7th Standard
and had been studying there since then. The parents explained to the team
that Ramu Abhinav celebrated his 16th birthday on the 10th of June. To
celebrate his birthday, he distributed sweets to his classmates and, in
order to do the same for his neighbors in Golden Jubilee Flats, requested
his teacher to grant him oral permission for exemption from attending
coaching class that evening.
On June 11th, Ramu returned to school in the morning. He scored 3 out
of 10 points on a maths test that was held that afternoon. His Maths teacher,
Mr.Kannappan, beat him for this, striking him on the face and in other
places. Later on the same day, Ramu and another student, Nityachandran,
were taken to the office of the Assistant Headmaster, Mr. Ponmathi. Nityachandran
had also missed the coaching class the day before. Nityachandran was first
beaten by the Assistant Headmaster and then sent out. Ramu was subsequently
beaten by the Tamil teacher, Mr.Ponnusamy, and the Asst. Headmaster.
Ramu Abhinav came home with a bruise on his right cheek, which also appeared
swollen. He explained the incidents to his parents. He also mentioned
that he developed the swelling after he fell down and struck his head
on a bench during the beatings.
That evening, Ramu told his parents that he had 27 graphs to do as homework.
His teacher had only demonstrated how to draw two or three graphs. Ramu
then tried to catch up by studying with a friend, from whom he copied
the necessary graphs. When he returned home, he tried to rewrite the graphs
so as to be sure he understood. He was able to complete only 7 of the
graphs and said he would complete the rest in the morning.
On the morning of the 12th of June, Ramu left the house at his normal
time, after rising at 5 am in order to study. His parents assumed that
he had gone to school, though it later emerged that he had not. At around
9 am both his parents and his sister left the house for their respective
jobs. At 9:30 am, residents of the flats saw Ramu return to the building.
He appeared to have returned without his bookbag, which is still missing.
He entered the flat and locked the door from the inside.
Ramu, being a scout student, knew how to tie knots. He used a nylon sari
of his mother to hang himself from the ceiling fan. He left a suicide
note in the handkerchief, saying that he did not like the school. He pleaded
pardon for his decision and also mentioned that he would like to be born
again in the same family.
When Ramu Abhinav's father returned home that evening, he was unable
to open the door from the outside. He then broke open the door and found
his son hanging.
Following Ramu's father's complaint, an FIR was registered under Section
174 of the CrPC in V-5 Thirumangalam Police Station and given Crime No.
1210/2003. On the basis of the said FIR, Mr. Kannappan, the Maths teacher,
Ramu's body was subsequently taken for post-mortem autopsy at Kilpauk
Medical College. The family stated that the post mortem report did not
mention anything about the external injury (for more details of the postmortem
report, please see below under "Meeting with Dr. Manohar").
The family gave the team a copy of the report.
The team was shown photographs of Ramu Abhinav, one taken on the 10th
of June (his birthday), and one taken of his body after his death. The
former photograph shows no visible external injuries or marks, but in
the latter a discoloration is visible on the boy's cheek and the area
appears swollen. The parents explained that this was the bruise that Ramu
claimed to have sustained when he struck his head on a bench.
Mr. Sarangapani further explained that Ramu Abhinav was not a poor student.
He showed the team Abhinav's other class test papers, where he had scored
15/15 in Physics, 22/25 in Chemistry and 33/50 in History. This year he
had told his parents that he could not follow this particular Maths teacher,
Mr. Kannappan, and thus found the subject difficult. Indeed, as proof
of Ramu's dedication, the parents stated that they had checked out during
holidays whether he wanted to continue in the same school, and Ramu Abhinav
Mr.Sarangapani further stated that both physical and verbal abuse exist
in Vellammal Matriculation Higher Secondary School. He stated that the
teachers called a nearby school a "prostitute's school" and
insulted a girl who had newly joined from that school. He alleged that
students who have received low scores on tests were asked, "Why don't
you hang yourself?"
The parents informed us that Ramu Abhinav was a sensitive boy, who was
popular among his classmates for his optimism and general cheerfulness.
Residents throughout Golden Jubilee Flats knew him (a fact that was confirmed
by others whom we interviewed). The residents of the Flats mentioned that
Abhinav was always joyful and playful. He was interested in sports and
was seen in the playground often. He used to organize football, cricket
and tennis matches.
The parents alleged that, while Ramu was being beaten in the Assistant
Headmaster's office, a number of new girl students were also present.
Given Ramu's sensitive nature, the resulting humiliation could have pushed
Ramu to commit suicide.
The parents also informed the team that they had been visited by the
parents of Thoufeeq, another Vellammal student who had committed suicide
two years earlier (see below for the record of the team's meeting with
Thoufeeq's parents). Thoufeeq's parents were deeply upset by Ramu's death
and expressed great regret that they had not been able to expose Vellammal
Matriculation School when their own son died.
The parents finally said that they were deeply hurt that, to this day,
the school management has not bothered to meet the family to extend condolences.
with Mr. Jayaraman, Vice President of the Golden Jubilee Flats Residents
The team met Mr. Jayaraman on the 17th of June.
The Flats Association is outraged by what has occurred and is therefore
planning an agitation against the school. They have made a number of efforts,
including trying to meet the CM and the Education Minister, in order to
ensure that action is taken against the school. Ramu Abhinav's death has
been a big blow to the area.
Studies of Students
All these students were interviewed by the team on 17th June 2003, 18th
June 2003 and 19th June 2003, also in the presence of their parents. In
some cases other family members and residents were present.
Study I : (Xth std Student)
On the eleventh of June, it was rumoured that Ramu Abhinav was beaten
up by 3 teachers: Mr.Kannappan, Mr. Ponnusamy and Mr. Ponmathi. He had
supposedly said that the beatings were not limited to his hands; he was
also struck on his back.
After Ramu Abhinav's demise, there was a function in the school for primary
classes. The students felt hurt that the celebration was carried out as
per plan even after a student's sudden demise. No mention was made of
Ramu Abhinav during the function. The school management later declared
that Ramu Abhinav was a student of X 'E', which was a class for weak students.
In reality he was a student of X 'I", which was a class for high
scoring students. The students feel that this was a deliberate effort
to denigrate a deceased student. The school management had also spread
rumours that Ramu was a drug addict.
In regards to the school itself, corporal punishment is used to a large
extent as a disciplinary procedure. Both boys and girls are beaten, though
with girls the beating is usually limited to the hands. With boys beatings
often extend to other parts of the body, including the back. After a second
or third 'offense', students are taken to a so-called 'dark room', which
is a room where all the windows are closed. In this room, two or three
teachers beat the student at the same time, and the darkness ensures that
the student cannot see which teacher is striking him or her. Such punishments
have occurred on a regular basis.
As another example, in one class, a girl student was verbally abused for
adjusting her "dupatta". When she broke down in tears, she was
made to kneel down in the hall as a punishment.
The school does not permit any communication between girl students and
boy students. Even if the conversation is limited to an exchange of stationery,
an enquiry procedure will be commenced. Warnings and beatings are part
of the 'enquiries'. Some students who go through repeated enquiries are
sent to the 'dark room.' In order to monitor this and other parts of students'
behavior, the school management uses secret 'spies', who are students
asked to report on other students. Other students do not know the identity
of these 'spies'.
Specific teachers are worse than others. The Tamil teacher, Mr. Ponnusamy,
beats up the whole class on a regular basis. The Correspondent, Mr. Velmohan,
has used vulgar words to abuse girl students and has beaten students with
his belt and shoes. He has also taken students to the 'dark room' for
In the evenings, coaching classes are conducted till 8.30 p.m. There is
a 'cell class' for students with poorer scores (more details on this class
can be found in the statements of Case Study IV below).
Study II: (VIIth std Student)
Beatings and corporal punishment are common in the school and often applied
arbitrarily. If a child makes a mistake, 3 rows of students are beaten.
Students have been beaten for having illegible handwriting.
A geography teacher, Ms. Renukadevi, has beaten students aggressively
and pinched them (in some cases breaking the skin and causing wounds).
Students have returned home with welts on their cheeks, ears, and scale
marks on their hands and legs. Some parents have taken up the issue with
the AHM, Ms. Renukarani, and the Tamil teacher Mr. Muruganandam Ayya.
The latter two individuals also at times perform counseling functions.
His parents stated that children from poor sections of the society also
come to this school. Parents from economically weaker sections request
the management to "discipline" the children properly and help
the children to score high marks. The parents opined that this factor
should not be overlooked when considering the prevalence of corporal punishment
in this school.
However, the parents noted that the school charges approximately Rs. 11,500
for a student in VII Std. There are other Matriculation schools in the
city that charge half this amount, so it is incorrect to say that this
school is providing unusually cheap education. The parents also noted
that they believed that there is a distinct difference between the attitude
towards exams and marks in State Board schools, where exams are considered
the end-all of the system, and in the Central Board system, which is more
student and learning-oriented.
Finally, the parents showed the team a copy of the school calendar, where
school officials' names are listed. They asked the team to take note of
the fact that all those in the top positions - the Correspondent, Director
and Secretary - appear to be the sons of the Chairman. This, they said,
indicates the degree to which the school is kept within the hands of one
Study III: (Xth Std Student)
Rash and vehement beating is prevalent in every class. When the Correspondent
gives out annual progress reports, he beats the children who score lower
marks with a stick. Indeed, Mr. Murugandam Ayya told a parent that "only
beating helps the child to grow." Asst. Headmaster Mr.Ponmathi beats
the children with particular brutality. The P.T. teachers also beat up
the children rashly.
"Dark rooms" are used for beating the children (please see Case
Study I above for more details on these rooms). The empty rooms near the
Chairman's room and one empty room in the Prinicpal's block are used as
For every disciplinary issue, a warning is given on the first offence.
The student is beaten on the second offence. If another offence occurs,
the management suspends the students. The suspended student is made to
stand on the dais of the assembly and the suspension is announced to the
entire school. Parents are also called to the school when a disciplinary
issue arises and asked to state in writing that their son/daughter "will
not commit this mistake again."
If the parents complain about corporal punishment to the school, their
child alone is exempted from corporal punishment. As a result, the student
feels depressed and guilty when classmates are beaten. This particular
student felt that he did not want his parents to complain about corporal
punishment for this reason. Though he had cried after beatings in the
school, this student did not want to raise the issue with his parents.
Further, the X and XII standards are crucial years in a student's life
and students do not want to raise any issue with the management.
The school does not permit any communication between girl students and
boy students. Even an exchange of a single word will result in an 'enquiry'.
Even brothers and sisters are not allowed to talk to each other inside
the school campus.
Study IV: (A X std Student)
Vellammal Matriculation School has 9,500 students. Around 3000 students
appear for the X std exams. This was the highest number of students sent
from any school in the State. Class IX has 26 sections. The school is
'well-disciplined', and the general impression is that "as long as
you are good, they are good to you." However, this student's father
feels that the school is too strict and does not pay enough attention
to making the school an attractive, enjoyable or fun place to be. Indeed,
students refer to the school as "Chennai Central Jail."
The correspondent kicks the children with shoes; Mr. Jayashankaran (previous
AHM) used to beat the children violently and there is rash beating by
most of the teachers. Beating usually begins with slaps on the cheek,
though some teachers also strike students on the head or on the back.
This student, though, said that he had never seen Mr. Kanappan strike
any student. He did however recall that on the day when Ramu Abhinav was
beaten, Mr. Kanappan said "I just slapped him."
It is difficult to get leave at the school. If student takes leave, teachers
either call up or visit his house to find out the reason for absence.
On one occasion, when a parent could not send a leave letter before 8.00
A.M, their child's name was deleted from the attendance register. The
parent had to raise this issue with the correspondent to get the name
included again. At another point, when a student took three days leave
due to illness, the Headmaster came to the student's house to verify that
the student was actually there.
Coaching classes continue till 8.30 pm in the night. Students are divided
into three sections for special coaching. They are split into the best,
average, and weak students. The weak students are put in a "cell
class" and are made to stay in the school. Classes continue until
10 or 11 pm and the students are made to rise at 4 am for more classes.
During this period, they are allowed to return home for only one hour
in the evening and one hour in the morning.
Teachers at Vellammal School also work under a lot of pressure. They are
not allowed to take private tuitions. Certain teachers, particularly those
hired for PT, appear to spend most of their time monitoring and disciplining
students. The father of this student believes that these teachers are
specially selected for this role.
There is no active Parents Teachers Association in the school. Open houses
are held to distribute progress reports to the parents; these open houses
are referred to as PTA meetings by the management, but in reality no discussion
or exchange of views is allowed to take place. Parents, however, do not
always object to the school's corporal punishment practices, and in some
cases they support them.
This student confirmed that the correspondent has special student spies
in each class that keep him informed about the class. These spies are
expected to note down instances where boy and girl students speak to one
another, where students speak in Tamil, or where students speak to one
another 'excessively' during inter-class breaks. While the school is generally
not strict about students speaking in Tamil, students have been beaten
for doing so.
Students do have some powers at the school. Class 'leaders' are required
to monitor other students, but they are also allowed to give opinions
and comments on teachers and their practices. Teachers have been changed
on the basis of student leaders' comments.
Study V: (Parents of a Kindergarten Student)
These parents stated that the quality of teaching is good. The teachers
and headmistress are friendly. These parents have heard that corporal
punishment takes place but their child has not experienced anything of
There is however a great deal of pressure on teachers is more to produce
good exam results. If they do not produce such results, their increment
is cut and they are demoted to lower classes for teaching. This results
in teachers placing pressure upon students.
study VI (A XIIth std. Student)
This student gave us a brief idea about the structure of the XIIth standard.
This class consists of 26 sections with 8 sections that offer computer
science as the elective subject, 9 that offer biology and 2 that offer
commerce. He also informed us that he stays in school everyday for almost
12 hours and that the school's focus for the X and the XIIth grade was
on academics. There are no Games hours for these two classes. He confirmed
the existence of a 'cell' for weak students and the incident with a 'dupatta'
that was mentioned by Case Study I above.
study VII (A XII std. Student)
He spoke about the vehement beating, the existence and practice of the
"dark room", the cell-class described by Case Study IV above
and the practice of instituting 'enquiries' when girls and boys speak
to one another. He also mentioned that the management was strict that
students should not be seen with their uniforms in public places. If the
students want to go anywhere in the evening, they have to go home first,
change their dress and then proceed. If they do not do so and are seen
in public with their uniform, they are reprimanded.
study VIII (ex-student of Vellammal HSS)
This student stated that the school was known for its beatings. Verbal
abuse is also very severe. However, the quality of teaching is good.
The Correspondent conducts enquires on disciplinary issues. He beats the
children harshly. In addition, the P.T teacher used to inspect the haircut
of pupils and, if they find it slightly long, they make arrangements for
barbers to do the hair cutting. This was done without the consent of parents.
In addition, the students were required to pay Rs.100 as a fine.
Discipline in the school is so strict that students have had to write
tests even when the lunch break was on. They were not even given time
to go to the toilet.
with parents of Thoufeeq
Some press reports on Ramu Abhinav's death also mentioned that a class
IX student of Vellammal School committed suicide two years earlier. When
contacted over the phone, his mother Hakkiyal Begum informed the team
that the student, Thoufeeq, was beaten up in the school. On 23rd June
2003, the team met with Thoufeeq's parents.
Thoufeeq's parents, Mr.Jehangir and Ms. Hakkiyal Begam, live in Padi.
Mr. Jehangir is a real estate seller. They own houses and have let them
out for rent. They have a daughter who is 14 years old. Thoufeeq joined
Vellammal School in the IIIrd standard and used to score around 60% to
80% in all subjects. He was interested in sports and he was active in
Thoufeeq was unhappy about his class teacher, Ms.Devi, and used to complain
about her to his parents. Before his quarterly exams in 2001, he came
home with severe bruises all over the body. He told his parents that he
was hit by a scooterist on the way home. Suspecting that this was not
the case, his parents checked his cycle and could find no damage. Therefore,
his parents decided that Thoufeeq must have been beaten in the school
and took him to a doctor nearby. He was treated there and a bandage was
put on his leg. Thoufeeq missed two of his exams, and his father took
him to the school for other exams.
After exam holidays he went back to school. However, on the 30th of October,
he demonstrated great reluctance about going back to school. The next
morning (31.10.2001), he hanged himself with a rope that was used to fetch
water in the cycle. After they found his body, Thoufeeq's parents rushed
him to Sundaram Medical Foundation, where he was declared dead. A case
was filed with the police and Thoufeeq's body was taken to Kilpauk Medical
College hospital (KMC), where the post-mortem was conducted. The postmortem
report has mentioned hanging as the cause of death, but there is no mention
of external or internal injuries.
After four days, Ms. Hakkiyal Begum went to Vellammal HSS and tried to
find out from Ms. Devi what went wrong in the school. The teacher and
other officials, whose names she is not able to recall, told her that
nothing had gone wrong in the school.
Due to nervous tension and emotional trauma, Ms. Hakkiyal Begum became
a heart patient after her son's demise. There are blocks in 4 valves of
her heart and she is under treatment in MMM hospital, Mogappair. Her mental
health was also affected for a short while. Mr.Jehangir has also developed
heart problems. Both of them are very depressed now.
Thoufeeq's parents mentioned that there are no financial or familial
reasons for his decision to commit suicide. It was the school that was
responsible for his decision. They also recalled their son telling them
that his teacher used to undress the boy students and beat them. Subsequently,
they heard from others that the school management had announced that Thoufeeq
committed suicide due to beatings from the parents.
with Dr. Manohar, Department of Forensic Sciences, Kilpauk Medical College
The photo shown to the team by Ramu Abhinav's parents on 17th June 2003
showed what appeared to be a bruise on the cheek of Ramu Abhinav. However,
the copy of the postmortem report given to the team by the family stated
that there were no internal or external injuries on the body. Hence the
team decided to meet Dr. Manohar, the postmortem examiner, to ask for
his view on the matter. The team met Dr. Manohar on 19th June 2003. Dr.
Manohar is an Additional Professor of the Department of Forensic Sciences
at Kilpauk Medical College Hospital.
Dr. Manohar stated that, as a forensic doctor, he can only record what
is seen on the body. The post mortem report mentions hanging as the cause
The injury on Ramu Abhinav's face was an older scar that was unrelated
to his death. As such, it was not included in the main postmortem report,
but has been mentioned in a 'parent document' in the hospital's possession.
Meeting with the Management of Vellammal
On Wednesday, 18th June, the team requested an appointment with the Chairman.
The management agreed to meet us at 12:00 Pm on 20/June/2003 in the school.
When the team arrived at the school, the office staff expressed ignorance
of the appointment. Neither the Chairman nor the Correspondent nor the
Principal turned up for the meeting. After waiting for an hour, the team
left the school.
Telephone Conversation with Mr. Narayanasamy, Director of Matriculation
Schools, Directorate of School Education, Government of Tamil Nadu
A team member spoke to Mr. Narayanasamy on the 23rd of June in order to
seek an appointment with him to discuss this issue.
Mr. Narayanasamy vehemently denied that he or other officers of his department
had anything to say on this matter. Further, he claimed, the matter is
pending in court and thus he cannot comment. If the team were interested
in investigating the issue, it should speak to parents of Vellammal students
and the management of the school. He and other government officials have
nothing to do with this incident.
He refused to grant an appointment and stated that he would not see us.
with Mr. Karuna Sagar, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Annanagar
Team members met Mr. Karuna Sagar on the evening of June 23rd.
At the outset, Mr. Karuna Sagar stated that he cannot comment on the
incident itself, as it is under investigation and he would prefer to await
the outcome of the investigation before making any statements on the matter.
He did however note that rumours of police complaints by the management
against parents or students are false.
In general, Mr. Karuna Sagar believes that corporal punishment is banned
throughout the country, despite provisions in the Education Rules that
may seem to allow it. He has however never till date received a complaint
of corporal punishment, other than the case of Ramu Abhinav. In cases
where such complaints were received, he said, the general practice would
be to hold the management of the school liable if there was evidence that
systematic or widespread corporal punishment was practiced in the school.
However, where a complaint was received against a particular teacher,
the police will initially hold only the teacher responsible. Should investigation
reveal that other teachers or the management were involved, this could
be introduced at a later date.
Mr. Karuna Sagar stated that, in this case (the suicide of Ramu Abhinav),
he has till date seen no information to imply that the management can
be held liable for what occurred. The police are treating the incident
as a suicide case and Mr. Kanappan has been charged with abetment to suicide.
Other teachers may be included if investigation reveals their names. When
the team noted that its interviews so far had implied that many other
teachers and the management are heavily involved in corporal punishment,
he requested those parents and students concerned to submit complaints
to the police. He stated that the police cannot act in the absence of
Mr. Karuna Sagar further said that he believes the roots of the corporal
punishment problem are in social attitudes, particularly those of parents.
He does not believe that the police can have much of a role in halting
this practice, though they may be able to coordinate with other agencies
to help create an atmosphere that is against corporal punishment.
1. Ramu Abhinav committed suicide as a result of humiliation and torture
at the hands of his teachers and authorities in the school.
2. Ramu Abhinav's death was not an isolated or disconnected incident.
The very structure of the school involves violence against students.
3. Corporal punishment exists in the school to a great extent. Corporal
punishment is practiced both as a form of repressive 'discipline' and
as a way of breaking students' spirits. Punishment is practiced on such
a frequent basis that it has essentially become a form of torture.
4. The Correspondent and the higher management, instead of checking their
teachers and preventing abusive practices, have themselves engaged in
corporal punishment of students.
5. The management does not seem to have any gender sensitivity and they
are making a mockery of 'co-education.'
6. It is also evident that the management lacks any understanding of
learning processes and the values of life, human rights of children and
gender equity. The management seems to believe that turning a school into
a prison camp is the best way of educating students.
7. The management places extreme pressure on the teachers to bring good
results, and the teachers in turn use all forms of pressure, including
torture, on students.
8. The institution is not run with philanthropic purposes. It is run
with a commercial objective. Commercialisation of education had led to
competition among educational institutions. This commercialization has
contributed to the sense of intense pressure and competition among students
and staff at Vellammal.
9. The State Board's heavy emphasis on memorization and simple repetition
has contributed to an atmosphere where education is equated with 'mugging
up.' This has increased pressure on students tremendously and meant that
no value is given to student creativity. Instead, it is believed that
if enough 'discipline' and pressure is exerted, students will do well.
10. No Parents Teachers Association seems to exist at this school and
there is no mechanism for parental feedback and monitoring.
11. The government authorities have thoroughly failed to play their role
in ensuring that the school has a healthy and conducive environment for
students. There is clearly no effective monitoring mechanism from the
Directorate of School Education to ensure that no abuses take place in
12. Parents tend to tolerate corporal punishment and other such abuses
to an unjustifiable extent. They either see these abuses as justified
or ignore them in the 'long term' interests of the student. At most they
may object to particular 'excesses' without opposing the overall pattern
of violence against students. This has permitted schools such as Vellammal
to continue their abuses.
13. Rather than appointing professionals or educationists to responsible
positions in the management of the school, the Vellammal Trust has chosen
to appoint family members as Chairman, Director, Correspondent and Secretary.
This has contributed to the general lack of professionalism and understanding
in the school management.
1. Stringent action should be taken against the management of Vellammal
School and the teachers responsible for Ramu Abhinav's suicide and for
the beating of other students. Investigations should not be limited to
Mr. Kanappan alone. The school should also be required to pay suitable
compensation to the family.
2. Investigations into the death of Thoufeeq two years ago should be reopened
and the police should treat the matter as a potential case of abetment
of suicide. Should it be proven that the school is responsible, stringent
action should be taken against those responsible for this incident as
3. Corporal punishment in all its forms should be banned in educational
institutions. This ban should be effectively enforced through a student-friendly
system of enforcement rather than through police action alone.
4. Systems and mechanisms should be set in place to protect students'
rights in schools. In particular, there should be frequent inspections
of schools not only by government authorities but by community members
and Parents Teachers Associations.
5. The Directorate of School Education should verify that Parents Teachers
Associations are functioning in schools so that parents participate in
the learning processes of children. Functioning PTA's will also help parents
to have a forum for feedback and monitoring.
6. Periodical training programmes for teachers and management should
be organized on human rights, creative learning, child rights and gender
equity. These should include regular testing and sessions on child-friendly
7. The objective of coeducation is to bring about a proper understanding
and perspective between boys and girls at a young age. Therefore, proper
orientation to this effect should be given to managements that opt for
8. Steps should be taken to ensure that education is the first priority
of educational institutions. Commercial goals and profit-making should
9. Academicians and educationists should play a role in management of
schools. This should be made a pre-requisite for licensing schools and
10. Laws should be enacted to appoint school counselors and social workers
who would help out students with emotional difficulties and also identify
problems like slow-learning, reading difficulties etc. and work with teachers
and parents on these issues.
11. There should be a long term effort at reforming the education system
to ensure that it is learning oriented rather than performance oriented.