A SCHOOL PRINCIPAL | Many boys in my school come from surroundings that are less than ideal and whose parents are declared Bad Characters in the local police station. Cases of altercation between teachers and them have in the past led to violence with teachers having been beaten up, their belongings stolen etc. It has now been two months since I took over the school and have been consistently working on the premise that no child is inherently bad and have stalled every proposal to rusticate them. My logic being that the society you will throw them into is the society we live in, so we are defeating our own purpose. Reformation is the only way. Today it paid off.
Someone filched a teacher’s expensive new phone and the suspicion was aimed at a bunch of boys.
Calling some of them aside I had a heart-to-heart talk with them, subtly laced with heartwrenching consequences of a police intervention.
In the other group of boys, I invested my trust and told them to spread out their antennae and find out who did it, so that we could help keep him out of trouble. I told them, I believed it was not an act of devilry, but that the boy who took the phone had been misled by others.
I gave myself a 90-percent chance of success … I spent the next 20 minutes with butterflies in my stomach as every member of staff was sure of failure and insisted on calling in the police.
Half an hour later, two boys came into my room and took me outside and handed the phone to me. We still do not know who did it but I am told the boy came up by himself and gave up the phone as the word that was spread was: “Hamari Principal ki izzat ka sawal hai aur humko unki ummeedon par khara utarna hai. ” (This is a question of our Principal’s respect and we have to live up to her expectations of us).
I love my kids.
(The writer is the principal of a school outside Goa. This is also what education is all about, an acknowledgement of equality to the disadvantaged while showing them respect and kindness.)