CHENNAI: Around 500 parents and a few teachers of the Hiranandani Upscale School at Kelambakkam staged a protest on the school campus on Tuesday against school director M E Curnane, a UK national. The protest came three days after Vasumathy Srinivasan, the principal of the CBSE wing of the school, was dismissed by the director.
Parents of children said the removal of the principal was the last of several complaints they had against the director. “The fee is much higher for the CBSE students. But CBSE students are discriminated on many aspects while students of the IGSCE and IBDP boards were given preferential treatment,” said K Rajesh, one of the protesting parents.
The school management, responding through an e-mail to Express, said all allegations were false and made with the intent of lowering the reputation of the school.
Another contentious issue was forcing children to have food provided by the school and not allowing them to bring it from home. A litigation on this matter is pending before the Madras High Court. However, in the e-mail on Tuesday, management said students were free to bring food from home.
Parents and a few students alleged that Curnane had made sexist comments against teachers, thereby humiliating them in front of students. “He would ridicule the teachers in front of the students,” said Vasumathy Srinivasan, a protester.
A few parents said Curnane also insisted on limiting the singing of the national anthem to 15 seconds during school assembly, which the parents alleged was “anti-national”.
When Curnane, using a mike, attempted to address the protesting parents, he was booed. He later left the campus even as the protests continued.
The school management is accusing a few recently-dismissed teachers for instigating the protest.
“Repeated false complaints have been given to various statutory authorities in vain, following the suspension and termination of a teacher for physically abusing a child and also after the relieving of an administrative incharge of the school who was hand-in-glove with the said teacher. All these involve unwarranted propaganda against the school and its management,” said P S Ganesh, Legal Advisor, House of Hiranandani, a business conglomerate that runs the school.
The school has declared a holiday for the next two days. However, the parents told Express that they would continue the protests on Wednesday, if they do not get a positive response from the school management.