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Kid in kennel row: Kerala government shuts down school, principal gets bail

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Taking a serious view of a four-year-old Upper KG (UKG) child being locked up in a kennel as punishment by a teacher for talking during classes, the Kerala government on Tuesday ordered closure of the private school even as the principal of the school got bail.

The swift action was taken on the basis of the report of the Deputy Director of Education (DDE) who found serious violation of rules in the functioning of the school located at Kudpapanakunnu on the outskirts of the state capital, which has classes from LKG to the Class VII.

Severe punishment methods were reportedly followed by teachers in the school, the report said. The building also lacked basic facilities for running a school, it was stated.

Meanwhile, the district administration has, for the time being, decided to take over the school after numerous complaints against the educational institution surfaced following the episode becoming public.

District collector Biju Prabhakar on Tuesday visited the school and found two groups protesting—one section demanding immediate closure of the school while the other demanding alternate arrangements so their wards can continue studies.

Prabhakar said, “For the time being, we will take over the school as the fate of the children studying here has to be taken care of. Arrangements will be made for their future education.”

Education Minister PK Abdu Rabb said the school will be closed down, as it lacks proper infrastructure and also does not have the necessary clearances.

Rabb said, “The government will see as to how the children studying here can be accommodated in other schools.”

Meanwhile, the court of Thiruvananthapuram First Class Judicial Magistrate on Tuesday granted bail to the school principal Sasikala, who was arrested on Monday.

Earlier on Tuesday, an inspection conducted on behalf of the Director of Public Instruction (DPI) found that the school where 150 students study from play school to Class 7 lacks necessary infrastructure.

Although the incident took place on Thursday last, it surfaced on Monday as the parents of the boy, with the support of local people, protested before the private school demanding immediate action against the principal. The parents came to know about the shocking incident from the boy's sister, a class three student in the same school.

The boy said on that particular day as he was talking to his classmate, the principal got agitated and locked him in a kennel after driving out the dog. The boy was let out after three hours.

Parents have alleged that the child was put in the kennel on the premises of a house, from where the school was run, after releasing the dog from its confinement.

The incident, which took place on September 25, came to light on Monday, triggering an outrage with child rights campaigners and social activists voicing serious concern and calling for stern action, including shutting down of the school.