CHENNAI: When a seventh standard student lodged a complaint that a fifth standard student was reeking of the smell of tobacco, the school principal Jeeva G R, head of Thiruvalluvar Gurukulam Middle School, Saidapet instead of punishing the student, made it her mission to trace the ‘maava’ (mix of processed tobacco, betel nut and lime) back to its source - the dealer.
With a little help from her students, she said “we didn’t have to look too far. The culprit was a paati that no one would have suspected, sitting meekly outside the gate.”
Jeeva recounted her story on the sidelines of a two-day State Convention on ‘Children Against Tobacco’ organised by the Mary Anne Charity Trust on Sunday. The elderly woman identified as Murugamma who sold maava packets for `5 to `10 a packet was requested to empty her bag, and the principal had the presence of mind to film a video as proof on her cellphone.
“I wanted to make sure that there would not be a repeat of this. I suspected that the same woman had influenced six girls at our dropout centre who were found to be addicts,” added Jeeva.
As expected, Murugamma absconded the next day, but a police complaint against her on the charge of selling tobacco to minors was lodged.
Founder of Naam Tamizhar Katchi Seeman and Padma Vibushan awardee Dr V Shanta of the Cancer Institute were present at the event.
An android app was also launched by organisers at the event to prevent the consumption of tobacco among students.