Round 2: “Let’s not do anything till the complaining gets unbearable”

It got worse, before it got better resolved or whatever this is supposed to be.

During the last 15 minutes of the school week, the boys apologised, in the presence of the Principal. On the third day after the event, yesterday, the parents were ‘informed’.

After that meeting I blogged about on Tuesday, I came to know much later in the evening from O, that Mr J had called her out of class and asked her to produce a ‘witness’.

Yes, we had the same reaction. WHAT. THE. F***.

R and I had made it clear they were not to speak to O about this without us being present, and we don’t want a ‘trial’, just for the two boys to be disciplined, and our daughter to be assured that her complaint was redressed.

Apparently Mr J was not listening, and definitely had no sensitivity or interest in dealing with the issue, beyond getting rid of a nuisance. And within an hour of us exiting the meeting, he was holding his kangaroo court, asking for ‘witness’. Which O (scared and puzzled) provided, naming a girl who saw the boys in action.

So we went to the school again on Wednesday. And this time we found no need to have a level, civil conversation. I told the school I would escalate this to Qatar’s Supreme Education Council, and to the CBSE board, as I saw it as a failure of education, a failure of educators, and they didn’t deserve to run a school. That got the Principal’s attention, who had the previous day refused to speak to us, insisting Mr J (mis)handle this.

Wishy-washy is the only apt description of this meeting too. The school hadn’t yet informed the parents of the boys. They hadn’t asked the boys to apologise. And obviously they were hoping it would all ‘go away’.

The Principal then said their ‘perception’ of what transpired had changed after we met with Mr J the previous day, and hence action would be taken. The irony is, we only told them what O had already told them repeatedly. After a long and rather tiring exchange of him stonewalling and refusing to see the real issue, we left. Few hours later, he called R to say the parents have been informed and the boys were warned this would not be tolerated a second time around.

And then, he had the gall to suggest that the issue could be closed now, as asking the boys to apologise would mean getting O to face them, and it might be uncomfortable (yes, really!). We set him right once again, and said this issue can’t be closed till they apologise.

Once again R went to school yesterday morning, to emphasise the need for an apology. So at the end of the day, the boys were called in to the principal’s room, along with O, and were made to apologise.

Let me leave you with what O told me, when I asked her if she felt better with the apology.

“No amma. The apology is nothing. The boys were giggling and not sorry. But that doesn’t matter; I am happy they got into trouble for creating trouble. And that the Principal believed me finally.”

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13 thoughts on “Round 2: “Let’s not do anything till the complaining gets unbearable”

  1. George B says:

    Gandhi had written addressing boys and targeting them with his ahimsa-tipped arrows. He said to them: “When you walk in the bazaar, keep your gaze down. Wear a hood so that your eyes don’t light upon the faces of young girls. Thus you’ll hold on to your virtue.” Gandhiji’s hold on India is intact. But alas, his essay had little effect on India’s young men

    WHY Girls have to live with the fact they will be ogled at, hooted and whistled at, passed undignified comments on, or even groped by? If everyone will look the other way in such situations, it will only encourage these b***ards.”

    God bless ‘O’…

  2. mahabore says:

    Loved the last part where O said that she didn’t care too much about the apology but was more interested in the part where they were at least held responsible for their stupid insensitive prank. Goes to show how mature your little girl already is.

  3. shyam says:

    I’d like to know what the boys’ parents said, if anything, about the disgusting behaviour of their sons! Good on Ovi for her reaction, although personally I’d have wanted to wipe the smirks off their faces! And there are no words to describe that awful, DISGUSTING Mr J!

    • UmmON says:

      I would like to believe the parents would talk to them. I think the boys were hiding their embarrassment. They are kids, and I don’t want to demonise them. I am really angry with the school though.

      • Shyam says:

        You are more forgiving of the boys than I can bring myself to be… and you the mother of the child in this situation. Hats off to you, V. I need only think of my niece in O’s position to know just how much it would take to be understanding and forgiving. Once again, hats off.

  4. Old mink says:

    Well, I am not sure whether writing a blog about this is the right way forward. It is all in public domain and O could be further harassed if her class fellows find this out. She could be teased all the time. The boys should be punished undoubtedly, but it could have been done without making O’s case public.

    • UmmON says:

      I am sure you say this with good intentions. But good intentions are not necessarily RIGHT. You should be concerned for the boys who might be harassed, because they are in the wrong. This is a discussion point. My daughter is aware of my posts. And if anything, she has received such overwhelming support from her friends, their parents and the teachers (apart from the 2 at the top). Why should I even hesitate to talk about this, when I am so proud of how my 12-year-old handled this? Why should I not talk about this, when this is going to force the school to rethink how it deals with these issues, and not mess up the next time?
      Old Mink, time for you to think long and hard about why YOU think I shouldn’t talk about this. Do you feel this is something my daughter needs to be embarrassed about?
      And when you say class fellows find out, do you mean about the incident or about the blog post? If, incident, they already do know of it. If you mean the post, then it’s going to be a worse reflection on their parents, and I am ready to handle that as well.
      The problem you see, is not really the children. They can be corrected and set right. The problem is with the adults. Adults who think keeping quiet or not discussing these serious issues is the best way to handle things. I don’t see any difference in your comment and in what the Principal/Vice Principal said.

  5. Old monk says:

    Please get this straight. The boys will not be Embarrassed. They might be for a few minutes but in the end they will be joking about this in their circles and winning more friends. Apology? What apology? The only way to discipline boys is the old convent school method, which is caning. A few stinging blows on the buttocks which make sitting difficult for 3-4 days does the trick most of the time. Yes O handled this well by informing you about the incident…I am not sure putting this in the public domain anyway helps O. She would have been a hero even if this had been redressed at the school level but it seems someone just felt the overwhelming need to be appreciated in virtual space for being such a kickass mom and hence the blogs.

    • UmmON says:

      Interesting, and I would love to understand better why you think the way you do. But I am not sure if you are trolling or not. Maybe if you share you real identity, it would be easier to have this conversation?

  6. justkooki says:

    Yes, you’re right. O might experience more harassement. And I agree. Sigh. The apologies given by the boys with a laugh are certainly unauthentic and on my opinion wholly useless. Did they feel embarassement? I doubt it and don’t see that as the point. It is possible to see this situation through different lenses. From what I understand you are seeing it through a here-and-now lens. Through an individual-isolated-event lens. This is the mentality that keeps victims quiet- and makes them feel like victims. By speaking up about this specific event she is drawing attention to a long term view. Showing other parents that they are the first line for holding their children responsible. That parents are respinsible for listening to their children and taking them seriously. Without this blog post O would have been a hero of her own story and life. With this blog post she has a voice (which the school administration tried to take away) and she can give other people the strength to be the hero of their story. Not just in situations of sexual harassement but in all aspects of life.

  7. Sujata says:

    I don’t think the school officials ‘get’ this the way they should. That’s the main problem. They don’t seem to feel the wrong in their individual systems the way a lot of us do. They only see it as an incident to be handled to ensure no further problems for themselves or the institution. Very sad. And there are probably too many such roaming this world. But sad or no, those of us who do ‘get’ this will always consistently, painstakingly & even ‘cut-and-right’-ly have to ensure that the other side acknowledges it and in time, feels it for the deeply disturbing issue that it is, damn it.

  8. Broom says:

    My blood is boiling. Just incredible. O is an amazing kid.
    And this is how rape culture takes hold – when boys are taught by adults with authority that they can get away with objectifying girls.

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