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Kerala students expelled for long hug

Kerala students expelled for long hug


A leading private school in Keralas Thiruvananthapuram has expelled two of its students - a girl and a boy - over their prolonged hugging in public, triggering a raging debate on discipline and morality in the southern state.

The girl, a Class 11 student, was embraced by the senior boy in front of the audience after she got the first prize for singing American singer John Legends All of Me in the Western musical contest on July 21.

Principal Sebastian T Joseph summoned the parents of both the students soon after the incident. They tendered a written apology but the schools management suspended them in August. They were expelled in November and the boys parents approached the state childrens commission which directed the school to take them back.

However, the school later challenged the commissions order in the high court. The high court upheld the schools decision, saying it was the principals responsibility to maintain decorum and morality inside the campus and dismissed the children commissions directive to continue their education.

Just a hug

Both the students claim it was a mutual congratulatory hug that lasted only a few seconds but the school said it was a prolonged hug and they violated the discipline.

It was a friendly mutual hug. My friend was happy with the way I sang. Both of us never expected things will come to such a pass. Our future is bleak since many schools that came to know about this are denying chances to continue education, the girl told the Hindustan Times.

She said school authorities later forced her to give an undertaking that it was not a mutual hug but a forced one to avoid initiating action against her. She said she refused and was expelled from the school in November.

The girl alleged that the school authorities later hacked into her Instagram account and procured some other photos to portray both of them in a bad light. Parents of both the students said they were humiliated by the school management.

The Class 12 student has said he will appeal against the high court order so that he can appear for his board examination next year.

According to the boys father, the congratulatory hug was blown out of proportion by the school authorities and it completely demoralised his son.

However, the school said that it did it in the best interest of the institution and all are bound to go by its rules of discipline and decorum. It said both were warned when they were hugging but they prolonged it and insulted the teacher who asked them to stop it.

We dont want to rake it up again. Since the high court has given a verdict everyone has to accept it, schools principal Joseph said.

The school authorities maintained that the boy was suspended in order to discipline him and it was up to the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to take a call on the matter. We have no problem if the CBSE allows him to take the exam, Joseph said.

He, however, said that the student did not have the requisite attendance.

Our intention is to reform the child, not to break him, but to make him, the principal told news agency Press Trust of India.

Joseph claimed that the student was allowed to appear for an examination in September even after an inquiry panel of teachers had found that the five-minute-long hug was intentional and with bad intentions.

His father said that they were planning to appeal against the single benchs order and alleged that his child was subjected to humiliation.

The trauma and mental agony suffered by him is still lingering, he told PTI.

Back to the medieval era

The alumni of the school have started an online petition demanding the management to revoke their expulsion.

They said the school overreacted over a harmless hug between the two students and rather than taking it as the innocuous adolescent behaviour it blew it out of proportion.

The petition clocked 1,500 signatures on the first day and went up to 3,000 on the second.

The schools alumni strongly deplored the expulsion of the Class 11 girl and Class 12 boy and one of them said in the petition that the school should set a time limit for hugs to know whether it is short or a prolonged one.

Your moral compasses are leading students back to the medieval era, another former student said in the petition.

But the institution has stood its ground, saying it has got the stamp of approval from the Kerala high court.

Many writers, activists and Congress leader and Thiruvananthapuram member of Parliament Shashi Tharoor have also asked the school to reconsider its decision.

Puritanical patriarchy run rampant. By sexualizing innocent affection between friends and fellow students, we are creating self-conscious hypocrites trained to suppress their feelings. And in this case, damaging a students academic career, I am appalled, Tharoor tweeted
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BBC

Hugging row in school crosses borders, finds place in BBC news


http://m.dailyhunt.in/news/india/en...ewsid-78550912



THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:International media has also started lampooning Kerala for its moral policing. Referring to the hugging row in a school in the City, it says in its reports Kerala's morality crashes if a woman and man hug each other.

The news on a frivolous incident in St Thomas School at Mukkola in Thiruvananthapuram has crossed seas and found a space in the BBC news.

The leading private school had ousted two of its students - a girl and a boy - over their "prolonged hugging" in public, entailing a raging debate on discipline and morality in the southern state.

The girl, a Class 11 student, was hugged by the senior boy in front of the audience after she got the first prize for singing American singer John Legend's "All of Me" in the Western musical contest on July 21.

Principal Sebastian T Joseph summoned the parents of both the students soon after the incident. They tendered a written apology but the school's management rusticated them in August. They were expelled in November and the boy's parents approached the state children's commission which directed the school to take them back.

However, the school later challenged the commission's order in the high court. The high court upheld the school's decision, saying it was the principal's responsibility to maintain decorum and morality inside the campus and dismissed the children commission's directive to continue their education.
'Just a hug'

Both the students claim it was a mutual congratulatory hug that lasted only a few seconds but the school said it was a prolonged hug and they violated the discipline.

"It was a friendly mutual hug. My friend was happy with the way I sang. Both of us never expected things will come to such a pass. Our future is bleak since many schools that came to know about this are denying chances to continue education," the girl told the Hindustan Times.

She said school authorities later forced her to give an undertaking that it was not a mutual hug but a forced one to avoid initiating action against her. She said she refused and was expelled from the school in November.

The girl alleged that the school authorities later hacked into her Instagram account and procured some other photos to portray both of them in a bad light. Parents of both the students said they were humiliated by the school management.

The Class 12 student has said he will appeal against the high court order so that he can appear for his board examination next year.

According to the boy's father, the congratulatory hug was "blown out of proportion" by the school authorities and it completely "demoralised" his son.

However, the school said that it did it in the best interest of the institution and all are bound to go by its rules of discipline and decorum. It said both were warned when they were hugging but they prolonged it and insulted the teacher who asked them to stop it.

"We don't want to rake it up again. Since the high court has given a verdict everyone has to accept it," school's principal Joseph said.

The school authorities maintained that the boy was suspended in order to discipline him and it was up to the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to take a call on the matter. "We have no problem if the CBSE allows him to take the exam," Joseph said.

He, however, said that the student did not have the requisite attendance.

"Our intention is to reform the child, not to break him, but to make him," the principal told news agency Press Trust of India.

Joseph claimed that the student was allowed to appear for an examination in September even after an inquiry panel of teachers had found that the "five-minute-long hug" was "intentional" and "with bad intentions".
His father said that they were planning to appeal against the single bench's order and alleged that his child was subjected to humiliation.
"The trauma and mental agony suffered by him is still lingering," he told PTI.

'Back to the medieval era'

The alumni of the school have started an online petition demanding the management to revoke their expulsion.

They said the school overreacted over a harmless hug between the two students and rather than taking it as the innocuous adolescent behaviour it blew it out of proportion.

The petition clocked 1,500 signatures on the first day and went up to 3,000 on the second.

The school's alumni strongly deplored the expulsion of the Class 11 girl and Class 12 boy and one of them said in the petition that the school should set a time limit for hugs to know whether it is short or a prolonged one.

"Your moral compasses are leading students back to the medieval era," another former student said in the petition.

But the institution has stood its ground, saying it has got the stamp of approval from the Kerala high court.

Many writers, activists and Congress leader and Thiruvananthapuram member of Parliament Shashi Tharoor have also asked the school to reconsider its decision.
"Puritanical patriarchy run rampant. By sexualizing innocent affection between friends and fellow students, we are creating self-conscious hypocrites trained to suppress their feelings. And in this case, damaging a student's academic career, I am appalled," Tharoor tweeted criticising the action of the school.
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The principal of St Thomas Central School, Sebastian T Joseph was quoted by NDTV saying, "He was found hugging a girl for a long time in an isolated area, near a staircase in the school. If it was just a congratulatory hug, it would have finished in seconds. But this lasted long. And only when the teacher literally shouted at them did they let go of each other."

"Besides this, we also found that they had posted several pictures in very intimate positions on Instagram and this was being circulated by their friends, with hundreds of likes. This is unacceptable," he said.

The student and his friend have both been suspended. He is now fighting to be allowed to take his Class 12 exams.

"They called me all kinds of sexually explicit names, in front of my grandmother... treated me like a rapist, criminal despite me apologising. I want to write my boards," he told NDTV.

"The Instagram pictures were from my private account... And they circulated it."

The girl, who is in Class 11, says she was also suspended in July.

"I didn't have any objection to him hugging me after my performance. It was just for few seconds. And school says it was for five minutes. They abused me, slut shamed and used very harsh words against me and my family, questioning my upbringing. They harassed us," the 16-year-old told NDTV.

In August, the state child rights panel ordered the school to take the teens back.

However, the Kerala High Court cancelled that order in December, saying the school is the final authority in matters of discipline to "maintain and sustain the standard and reputation of the school".

The boy's father said, "His fundamental rights, including to right to education and expression, right to privacy -- all have been denied to him. This is wrong and they should have taken some reformative steps instead of such harsh steps."

The school authorities have said whether the boy will be allowed to take his exams will depend on the Central Board of Secondary Education, which manages schools across the country.
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THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:International media has also started lampooning Kerala for its moral policing. Referring to the hugging row in a school in the City, it says in its reports Kerala’s morality crashes if a woman and man hug each other.

The news on a frivolous incident in St Thomas School at Mukkola in Thiruvananthapuram has crossed seas and found a space in the BBC news.

The leading private school had ousted two of its students - a girl and a boy - over their “prolonged hugging” in public, entailing a raging debate on discipline and morality in the southern state.

The girl, a Class 11 student, was hugged by the senior boy in front of the audience after she got the first prize for singing American singer John Legend’s “All of Me” in the Western musical contest on July 21.

Principal Sebastian T Joseph summoned the parents of both the students soon after the incident. They tendered a written apology but the school’s management rusticated them in August. They were expelled in November and the boy’s parents approached the state children’s commission which directed the school to take them back.

However, the school later challenged the commission’s order in the high court. The high court upheld the school’s decision, saying it was the principal’s responsibility to maintain decorum and morality inside the campus and dismissed the children commission’s directive to continue their education.
‘Just a hug’

Both the students claim it was a mutual congratulatory hug that lasted only a few seconds but the school said it was a prolonged hug and they violated the discipline.

“It was a friendly mutual hug. My friend was happy with the way I sang. Both of us never expected things will come to such a pass. Our future is bleak since many schools that came to know about this are denying chances to continue education,” the girl told the Hindustan Times.

She said school authorities later forced her to give an undertaking that it was not a mutual hug but a forced one to avoid initiating action against her. She said she refused and was expelled from the school in November.

The girl alleged that the school authorities later hacked into her Instagram account and procured some other photos to portray both of them in a bad light. Parents of both the students said they were humiliated by the school management.

The Class 12 student has said he will appeal against the high court order so that he can appear for his board examination next year.

According to the boy’s father, the congratulatory hug was “blown out of proportion” by the school authorities and it completely “demoralised” his son.

However, the school said that it did it in the best interest of the institution and all are bound to go by its rules of discipline and decorum. It said both were warned when they were hugging but they prolonged it and insulted the teacher who asked them to stop it.

“We don’t want to rake it up again. Since the high court has given a verdict everyone has to accept it,” school’s principal Joseph said.

The school authorities maintained that the boy was suspended in order to discipline him and it was up to the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to take a call on the matter. “We have no problem if the CBSE allows him to take the exam,” Joseph said.

He, however, said that the student did not have the requisite attendance.

“Our intention is to reform the child, not to break him, but to make him,” the principal told news agency Press Trust of India.

Joseph claimed that the student was allowed to appear for an examination in September even after an inquiry panel of teachers had found that the “five-minute-long hug” was “intentional” and “with bad intentions”.
His father said that they were planning to appeal against the single bench’s order and alleged that his child was subjected to humiliation.
“The trauma and mental agony suffered by him is still lingering,” he told PTI.

‘Back to the medieval era’

The alumni of the school have started an online petition demanding the management to revoke their expulsion.

They said the school overreacted over a harmless hug between the two students and rather than taking it as the innocuous adolescent behaviour it blew it out of proportion.

The petition clocked 1,500 signatures on the first day and went up to 3,000 on the second.

The school’s alumni strongly deplored the expulsion of the Class 11 girl and Class 12 boy and one of them said in the petition that the school should set a time limit for hugs to know whether it is short or a prolonged one.

“Your moral compasses are leading students back to the medieval era,” another former student said in the petition.
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