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Principal ill, school closed – Convent head in ICU after fee fracas

Posted by Ramesh Khati on June 20, 2009

The closed gate of St Joseph’s Convent on Friday. Picture by Kundan Yolmo

The closed gate of St Joseph’s Convent on Friday. Picture by Kundan Yolmo

Siliguri, June 19: St Joseph’s Convent, Matigara, remained closed for the day as the principal was admitted to a nursing home with complaints of uneasiness reportedly following an altercation with a section of guardians on the rollback of fees yesterday.

Students who had arrived at the school around 8am returned home seeing a poster plastered on both the main and the back gate of the convent.

The poster signed by “sisters” of the convent read: “A sad series of circumstances enfolded in the Siliguri Court premises yesterday wherein our sister was wrongfully confined and insulted by a section of the parents of the school, following which she has taken seriously ill and has been admitted into the ICU of a nursing home in Siliguri. The school remains closed.” The notice did not specify how long the school would remain closed.

Last evening, a five-member team of the school including principal Sister Margaret and managing committee president Father John W. Lobo had been confined for one-and-half-an-hours to the subdivisional office by nearly 150 parents after the convent authorities refused to take any decision on the rollback of fees at a meeting convened by the deputy magistrate of Siliguri.

Contacted on her cellphone, the principal said: “I am not well enough to explain anything right now. You can find out from the school.”

When The Telegraph reached the school, located 9km from Siliguri, around 10.30am, the guard at the gate said: “There is nobody here right now.”

Later, speaking over the phone from Namchi in South Sikkim, Father Lobo said the principal, a diabetic, complained of uneasiness and was rushed to one of the nursing homes around 10pm last night. “Her sugar level has increased tremendously and she is presently in the ICU,” Lobo said. “Nothing has been decided as till when the school will remain closed. We will sit for a meeting and work out the modalities as soon as I return.” The school authorities did not file any FIR against anybody.

The parents’ body submitted to the subdivisional officer (SDO) of Siliguri a “copy of the order” passed by the additional district magistrate of Asansol on June 12 asking the parents there not to pay the school fees till June 30. “We have submitted a copy of the order and requested the administration to release a similar order until this issue is resolved,” said Sandeepan Bhattacharjee, the president of the body.

The SDO said he would forward the memorandum to the district magistrates of Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri. “Another meeting between the school heads and the guardians will be convened soon by the administration,” he added.

Don Bosco, Siliguri has put up a notice on its gate, condemning yesterday’s incident.

Source: The Telegraph

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