A former student of GD Birla narrates her experiences
Last time something like this happened, I was in high school. I was in that building, in the midst of all the chaos. I saw everything first hand.
That was three years ago.
Today, I wasn’t there. Watching everything unfold from another city, all I could do was feel everything inside of me crumble to bits. I felt once again the betrayal of all the promises made to us by the Heads of the school that never saw the light of day, I felt that all-too-familiar discomfort in my stomach that came with feeling so unsafe in a place I was supposed to call my second home.
This write up is not an opinion. I do not feel like I have a right to one this time, because, unlike three years ago, I wasn’t physically there, and previous experience has made me distrustful of the media.
But as I see my Principal, the school authorities, as well as some other people try to defend the school, I am not surprised. And I will tell you why.
Everything I am about to mention, is a fact.
It has either happened to me, in front of me, or to my close friends. I am listing them out in a coherent manner, because I feel like people have a right to know.
For years, the management of G. D. Birla Centre for Education has harassed and exploited its students and staff. We have been abused, insulted, our characters questioned. We have been threatened to silence by things like “your marks will be cut”, “your admit card will be withheld”, “You will be taken to Manjushree ma’am.” During my 14 years in the institution, I have seen some of the best teachers in the city forced to leave the school because of mistreatment.
The management of G. D. Birla is an administrative body that believes that stopping the graduating batch from creating customized “batch t-shirts” is a more pressing issue than installing CCTVs in classrooms, or proper locks in all the washroom cubicles. It is a body that believes that it is okay for students and teachers to waste entire periods wandering around in search of an empty classroom, but sinful for two classmates of the opposite sex to greet each other if they happen to meet in the corridors. It is a body that will stuff 70 students in a class that has a capacity of 40, provide no air-conditioning, and then claim no responsibility if the students fall sick. It is a body that recruits vice principals who will point out the colour of your bra in front of a bunch of older boys, who will accuse you of doing “immoral things” because you submit a letter requesting to go home privately for one day instead of taking the school bus.
If you feel unwell, you aren’t allowed to go home. Unless you are burning up with 104 fever, or on the verge of death, you aren’t allowed to go home. Unless you have reached the very extreme of your illness, you are held back, questioned, harassed, accused of being a liar.
Once in class 8, I fell so ill that I slipped down the stairs, almost fainted, and threw up twice within a span of three hours. When I went to the vice principal to request to go home, I was made to wait for over fifteen minutes before I was even allowed to see her. During that agonizing wait, I begged the receptionist to let me call my mother, but she said she could not allow anyone to make calls without the signature of the VP, and that I must wait. When the VP finally decided to give me a fraction of her attention, I was told to get medicine from the Sick Room and go back to class. When I told her I couldn’t even stand, let alone climb two flights of stairs, she simply said, “What can I do? You have to go get the medicine.” And so, somehow, with the physical support of a few friends, I dragged myself upstairs, only for the nurse to give me a couple of expired homeopathic pills, before I was asked to leave.
When I was in class 12, my batch mates and I were screamed at, chased, and threatened with physical assault with a metre ruler, all because we wanted to celebrate the last day of school in the field by making a formation of our school acronym. The stick was swung at the faces of begging, crying and unarmed students, who were, as usual, threatened with ‘dire consequences’. Where was the Principal during this whole ordeal, you ask? Not in school, of course.
The Heads of G. D. Birla break ethics of privacy, confidentiality and cyberspace on a daily basis. Client-Counsellor confidentiality is constantly broken, and many of the students personal problems are made topics of tiffin-break conversation. Failure is reprimanded, but resources that ensure success are never provided in return.
The management lies.
They are wealthy, powerful people. They will bribe you, blackmail you, and deny fire in the very face of it. They will silence their students by waving their rod of authority, like they have kept my classmates and me silent for the entirety of our school lives. Like they are still asking their current students to remain silent and not speak out in the face of the recent crime.
Luckily, I am a university student now. I am not bound by their power anymore. There is no probability of me being suspended from my board exams for saying the truth. And so, I will speak. I will remain silent no longer. Almost every form of ethical violation has been going on behind those walls for years now.
A 4 year old has been raped, and they will try their best to twist the story to their advantage and uphold their ‘reputation’, just like they always have. They will deny it. They will hide behind their power. They will try to bribe you.
Do not let them. Do not let them get away with it this time. Not anymore.
Stand up, please. For the sake of that child. For the sake of the students who were attacked for no reason in front of the school on Friday. For the sake of our innocent teachers, who were held back in school till 1 AM without having done anything wrong. For the sake of those hundreds of children over the years who have suffered over and over.
Please, stand up.
A Whatsapp forward – but a very important read!