Police are investigating a complaint lodged by a woman who claims her husband committed suicide because their child was denied admission to a school in the Warakapola area, after being mistreated at the previous school he was attending.
Selvaraja Sakuntala, a mother of five, claims her son Dilshan was refused a place at the Ambepussa Maha Vidyalaya and that he faced cruel treatment at the previous school.
“About three months ago both my children started to complain about the abuse they were enduring at school,” the mother said, adding that the school authorities had sent her a message asking her to take her son out of school.
The school provides the daily lunch, and each day a different parent is appointed to cook and clean up. The mother said the class teacher would make her child do the washing of the plates, when there were 42 other students in the class. She had demanded to know why her child was being treated in this manner, when it was her turn to help with the cooking and cleaning.
She had spoken to the principal about the way her children were being treated. A week later, the principal had still not done anything about it. The mother then asked for a leaving certificate of her child, as she wanted to take her son out of the school.
“We were a happy family, but the teachers ruined our lives,” Mrs. Selvaraja said, with tears in her eyes. Her five children are Prasad Kumar, 17, Perumal Kanmani, 16, Perumal Divya, 13 , Perumal Dilshan, 7, and Dilip, 1 ½. The two eldest children have stopped school because the parents could not afford it, while the younger daughter is refusing to go back to her school – Gamini Vidyalaya - fearing she will be humilated.
“My husband was a labourer and his earnings were our only income. I applied for a Samurdhi subsidy, but the application was rejected,” she said.
The mother says that on June 26 she visited two schools - Thalliyadda and Ambepussa Maha Vidyalaya. She alleges that the Ambepussa MV principal had told her: “If Prabhakaran was alive, we would have taken in your son out of fear, but now that Prabhakaran is dead, we have nothing to fear, and we don’t feel obliged to admit your son to this school.”
According to the police, Ambepussa MV was prepared to enrol the child if the mother produced the necessary documents, while the Thalliyadda school had advised the mother to enrol the child in one of the three village schools, considering the family’s financial difficulties.
Police say the father was in debt, and had attempted suicide on two previous occasions.