Schools get calls from panic-stricken parents
have been overwhelmed with calls and messages from parents anxious about the well-being of their children studying at schools in violencehit Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong in West Bengal after the GJM called an indefinite shutdown in the hills.
Academics have been partially affected but there is no reason to worry about the safety of children who stay in hostels, authorities of various schools in the area told HT. “I am getting over 500 calls every day from anxious parents. We have told them there is nothing to panic . We have provisions for weeks and the students are secure,” said Chetan Tewari, Kurseong coordinator for Association of Hill Listed ICSE Schools (AHLIS).
As many as 43 schools are members of AHLIS. Tewari is also the principal of St Anthony’s School that has 900 students of whom over 350 are boarders.
Father Shajuman, the rector of St Joseph’s (North Point) School, said, “We have at least two month’s supply. There is nothing to worry. We have some teachers inside the campus and they are helping students with studies.”
The schools will close for summer vacation in June-end, and for many students leaving the hills for plains in the midst of a shutdown may not be smooth. However, school authorities were hopeful of a peaceful evacuation.
“There was a bandh in 2013 too, but both the agitators and the government helped us in evacuating children,” said Bobby Chachan, director of Bethany School in Kurseong.
Despite the assurances from school authorities, tension is running high among parents. Sanjoy Roy, the father of a Class 11 student in a reputed school in Darjeeling, told HT that authorities have started rationing food. “My son was given a roti less at night. I have nothing to complain on that front. But I am worried about his safety,” Roy said.