Principal on the mat for inviting convicted PC minister as a chief guest
The North Western Provincial Council (NWPC) has ordered an inquiry into the conduct of a principal in a Wayamba school for inviting a former PC member who had insulted a teacher in the school by making her kneel before him for reprimanding his daughter, a student of the school.
Provincial Education Minister Sandhya Kumara Rajapaksa has ordered an inquiry into the action of the principal of Navagattegama Navaodya Vidyalaya, Malcolm Peterson, for inviting UPFA PC minister Ananda Sarath Kumara who was convicted for punishing a teacher of the same school by making her kneel in the presence of the students.
Mr Kumara was sentenced to two years rigorous imprisonment, suspended for seven years, in a case filed by the aggrieved party at the Puttalam High Court.
Mr Kumara was the chief guest at the sports meet on Feb. 11. He was given a welcome by the school band with students kneeling before him and offering betel leaves.
The letter from Minister Rajapakse questions how the school band played to welcome him when an islandwide circular to all schools stipulates that school bands can perform only for the President or Prime Minister of the country.
The Principal in question told the Sunday Times that the decision to invite Mr Kumara was unanimously taken by the sports committee of 15 members.
“Not only him, but several Buddhist monks, bank managers, principals of schools and doctors were invited,” he said.
However, he said that he had not taken Mr Kumkara’s past into consideration when planning the invitation. “I took over office as principal only 10 weeks ago,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Ceylon Teachers Union (CTU) condemned the incident and said the principal’s action had brought ‘shame’ upon the Education system itself.
“It is an insult to all principals and teachers in the country,” he said.
A principal who was invited and was present at the meet said he and two other principals had walked out halfway as they were embarrassed by the event.
The principal who wished to remain anonymous said the whole atmosphere at the meet was tensed and the teachers and students of the school had shown their displeasure by delaying to participate in the events.
He said the teachers did not come forward to unfold the ‘House flags’ and students reluctantly participated in the events. “The names had to be announced several times before the students showed up,” he said.
Participation by parents also had been scarce, may be as a silent protest. “There were only around 60 parents in the pavilion,” he said.
The inquiry into the incident is to be held on Monday.