CHENNAI: That some institutions make boy and girl students sit separately in class is no news anymore. But to have separate entry? That’s news!
Around 200 parents protested for over three hours at Vivekananda Matriculation School, Perumbur on Monday morning against the school’s new rule that boys and girls had to enter the school through two different gates.
According to the new rules, girls have to enter the school through the front gate while the boys had to use the back gate.
“The lane leading to the back gate is very narrow and almost half a kilometre away from the front gate,” complained a father whose son studies in class six.
Parents also alleged that the students were being made to sit in separate gender-rigid sections since the beginning of this academic year.
“Why should there be any separation? With no interaction with the other sex, how are they to learn about their friends?” asked the distraught father.
When contacted, the school administrator told Express that the use of different entry gates was enforced to avoid traffic jams.
“Between 8:45 and 8:55 am, most parents drop off their children and the road gets blocked. So, to reduce the crowding we decided to separate the entry points,” the administrator said.
However, parents claimed that traffic wasn’t an issue at all, asserting that just one traffic police personnel could sort this. “The school has its own agenda,” alleged Palani, whose grandson was in the school.
According to him, the principal who came out for talks during the protest told them that the segregation was done to prevent any untoward incident between the two groups of students.
“She told us that in some city schools, students had been physical with each other; to prevent these, she decided to separate the children,” said Palani and added, “We admitted them to a co-education school so that they would be able to interact with the opposite sex and learn how to respect others and behave in a society.”
Speaking to Express, a school official said the students were not being separated but did not wish to elaborate.
After the protests and media glare, the school sent an SMS to parents later in the day stating, “All the available gates can conveniently be used. However Parents are requested to utilize the West Gate also to avoid traffic congestion at the main entrance. By PRINCIPAL.”
There is a third gate for parents who have both sons and daughters in the school but that is only for entry. After school, the students have to leave through the designated gates,” said Palani, adding that the safety of siblings who waited outside for their brother or sister could be in question.
A school official said they had considered parents’ suggestion and would announce the decision on Tuesday.