CHENNAI: If the trauma of being picked up by the police on the Marina and lodged in a government home was not enough, 12-year-old Glen Paul Witshire, a class eight student, had to bear the stigma of a ‘criminal’. His school to which he returned after the summer vacation, labelled so and sent him back on Thursday.
“Take back your boy. Enna case la police pudichitu ponangalo (wonder in what case the police picked him up),” was what the corporation school principal in Sathyamoorthy Nagar, Thiruvottiyur in the city, had reportedly told Glen’s father the next day. The principal was alleged to have asked the family to get the Transfer Certificate and get the boy admitted elsewhere.
Glen, who bunked classes on February 3, was caught by the police wandering along Marina Beach, walking close to the water. Since, the police could not reach the boy’s father, they handed over him the government home at Royapuram. Later, he got back with his family. It came as a rude shock for the student, when he entered the school on Thursday. The principal gestured towards him asking him to leave. A distraught Glen, rushed home and told his father, Hubert Paul, a painter.
When Hubert and his brother, Peter, went to inquire, the principal initially told them that since the boy was irregular they should submit a letter requesting the transfer certificate.
Following this, on Friday, the family filed a petition with the State Human Rights Commission seeking action against the principal. According to Hubert, after the boy was rescued, he was being looked down upon as a criminal. The principal often persisted to take away my son for not attending school regularly, he added.
“My son has been studying in the same school for the past two years and has been taking leave to take care of me as I was bed ridden. But it was only after my son was rescued by the police, the principal kept on insisting me to submit a letter to collect the transfer certificate,” he said.
When contacted the school officials denied stigmatising the boy. “The father told us last academic year that he was planning to admit his son in a hostel as he had lost his mother very young. Only because of them the family was asked when they will collect the transfer certificate. Since the boy had been running away from home, we advised the father to admit him in an hostel for his safety,” said a senior official from the school.