4 July, 2022

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Justice Delayed Is Justice Denied To A 11 Year Old 

By Tush Wickramanayaka

Dr. Tush Wickramanayaka

The Chairman of Gateway Group, the Principal of Gateway College, the OIC of Seeduwa Police, the Human Rights Commission, the National Child Protection Authority, the Minister of Education, the Inspector General of Police, The Attorney General’s Department, The Prime Minister and the President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka failed to protect and provide the Constitutional rights to a young citizen.

CONSTITUTION ARTICLE 11 – No person shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

CONSTITUITION ARTICLE 12 (1) – All persons are equal before the law, and are entitled to the equal protection of the law

The following all too familiar scenario, crystalizes all that is wrong with our society and how the long arm of power over-rides justice, decency and fair play.

The Incident 

On 12th January 2018, my 11 year old daughter who attends Gateway College, Negombo had forgotten to take her weekly English reading book to school. The English master, Jude Udayakumara had forced my daughter and 8 other students who had a simple lapse of memory to kneel down and pulled their ears despite merciful pleadings. This was the nth time such punishments were metered out for simple errors. The perpetrators remained in school continuing to punish the students whilst new recruits followed suit. I had made several complaints before, requesting for a transparent complaint procedure, compulsory child psychology training for teachers and an active child protection policy; these have been ignored. 

As usual, I immediately gave a written complaint to the Principal, Devika Alldis and as usual, nothing happened until 19th of January. I complained to Seeduwa Police. JMO diagnosed Acute Stress Disorder. Quite predictably, the OIC endorsed his personal agenda and persuaded me to ignore the incident because my child had no injury. I realized that chances of finding justice were remote. At the conclusion of the inquiry on 25th January 2018, The Principal assured me that a Child Protection Policy will be adopted and that none of the children will be harassed due to the complaint to Police. We settled the matter amicably. So we thought. 

The Aftermath 

The following day, Mrs Alldis summoned the other 8 students into her office individually and obtained written evidence, 2 weeks after the incident and after we had concluded the matter amicably. The children were intimidated not to share this information with my daughter. However, my daughter was not asked to write a letter. 

The poor students were petrified to associate my daughter. She was left alone all day. She did not have a single friend to share her lunch or talk during interval. All the students were walking away from her, whispering timidly “don’t speak to her, Madam will scold us.”

The Breakdown 

My daughter is a bright, bubbly, confident and fearless character. She is a high academic achiever and excels in many sports, bringing glory to Gateway. This bright spark uncharacteristically breaks down. She cried non-stop for 3hrs, she could not sleep or eat. She refused to sleep in her room. She took up a fetal position in my bed. She was inconsolable. My heart broke and my guts wrenched wondering what on earth had happened in school. I blamed my-self all night. In the morning, after she had calmed down, I managed to get the full details of the previous day. I was speechless. I could not comprehend how any human could treat a defenseless child with such animosity. My daughter refused to go to school. She had never missed a day of school for 7 years. This was serious – damn serious!

Manipulation 

I decided to act faster this time and reported the incident to National Child Protection Authority (NCPA). 

The JMO diagnosed Psychological Disturbance due to incidents happening in school with Adjustment Disorder. Her mental condition had deteriorated since assessment at Negombo.

NCPA concluded the investigations and filed the case, Penal Code 308A Mental Cruelty to Children, at Negombo Magistrate’s Court on 2nd February 2018 and forwarded the file to the Attorney General’s Department (AG) for further advice. 

However, H M Abeyratne, Deputy Chairman of NCPA, was on the front page of Mawbima and Ceylon Today declaring that NCPA was dysfunctional. Mawbima and Ceylon Today are owned by Tiran Alles, former Board Member of Gateway Group and brother of Harsha Alles, Chairman of Gateway Group.

Suddenly, Abeyratne is elevated to the position of Chairman, NCPA on 9th April 2018. 

Since April 2018 my daughter’s case has gone into hibernation!

I wonder if this was a carefully choreographed coup. When they could not stop the investigation they changed the head of department – Classic manipulation?

Circus Of The Authorities

My daughter’s life became a living hell. She continued to be harassed in school. She was forced to sit at the back of the class, she was called a buffalo, the other 8 students who were punished started picking on her and children were ganging up on her.  She began to lose her memory even more and became disinterested in her school work. In the meantime, the school started a car sticker campaign. “We love our teachers. We love our school. Teachers are our second parents. School is our second home”. The teachers and parents started an exclusive WhatsApp group “Save Gateway Negombo” with detrimental posts about me and my family. I was disallowed to join. Some parents gave a letter to Seeduwa OIC endorsing corporal punishment and urging action against me. 

We called a family meeting. We informed our children of the negative impact this would have on their

lives; de-selection for sporting activities, de-selection for prefect ship, de-selection from peer groups. We laid down the ugly truth. Both my children unanimously agreed to pursue justice. Their gallantry was inspirational.

We reported back to NCPA on several occasions and confirmed the ongoing harassment. Each time, we spent half a day giving statements and each time we were reassured that NCPA will take immediate action. Each time they failed. 

I reported the matter to Minister of Education personally. I was informed that International schools are registered as businesses with Board of Investment. Therefore, the Ministry does not have any purview of International schools.

I reported the matter formerly to Human Rights Commission. They upheld the complaint and commenced inquiries. HRC wrote to the Ministry of Education, Board of Investment and Seeduwa Police. However, staff member Kusum Jayawardhena at HRC committed a serious breach of confidentiality by discussing sensitive information with her family. This lead to another complaint to HRC, which to date is outstanding. HRC abruptly concluded the inquiry relating to the original complaint ironically declaring that they too do not have the purview to deal with private institutions raising alarm bells of collusion. My daughter fell from the frying pan to the fire. 

I did not stop. I could not accept that any child should be subjected to such inhumane and cruel treatment. I wrote to Solicitor General, Dappula Di Livera in March and April 2018 urging the AG Department to take immediate action to spare my child from harassment. 

I met the Inspector General of Police, regarding the inefficiency of the special Police unit at NCPA.

I met the Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe who was shocked that not a single department had taken any action despite the plethora of complaints. 

I have not received a response from any of the above to date.

When we did not abandon our quest for justice, Harsha Alles, urged me to transfer the children to another school. When I declined, he forbade me to communicate with the Principal or any teacher. I was ordered to liaise with a Consultant from Gateway College, Colombo even for an emergency. I declined. Then, the Chairman insisted that only my husband who lives in UK is permitted to liaise with the school. This was beyond ridiculous. The children were devastated that the school authorities were gunning to get rid of two ornaments of the school; shameful intimidation at its best. 

The Ugly Truth 

NCPA filed the case at Negombo Magistrate Court on 02/02/2018. The case was called on 11/05/2018, 01/06/2018, 13/07/2018, 26/07/2018, 31/08/2018 and 04/10/2018. On many of these occasions the NCPA informed court that they were awaiting AG advice. The case is due to be heard again on 07/02/2019.

I made legal representation to AG Department. We were informed that AG Department is inundated with political cases. Despite the reassurance to take urgent action the wheels of justice have come to a grinding halt for one full year.

After hearing the shocking ongoing harassment the Magistrate Court Judge, in an unprecedented move, issued an order directly to Additional Solicitor General, Ayesha Jinasena to take action urgently. The Judge also ordered the Victims of Crimes and Witnesses Assistance and Protection Division to ensure the welfare and safety of my child. 

The file was forwarded 360’ circles TWICE from NCPA to Children and Women’s Bureau to Witness Protection Division with absolutely nothing happening to date.

The stark inefficiencies and mind boggling dysfunctionalities of every authority responsible for child welfare makes my spine shiver. 

As a final attempt to move the wheels of justice I appealed to the Attorney General, Jayantha Jayasuriya on 2nd January 2019. Is the AG Department blind to the injustices of a defenseless and helpless 11year old child or is it being manipulated by political and financial influences to overlook the case, which we are commonly informed of in Sri Lanka?

It has been one hell of a year for my daughter and us. Whilst we experience regular discrimination, intimidation and harassment, the offending Teacher, Principal and Chairman lives at large unscathed.

WHY IS JUSTICE DELAYED AND DENIED TO AN INNOCENT AND DEFENSELESS 11 YEAR OLD?

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Latest comments

  • 5
    1

    There is a growing problem with the lack of accountability with schools in Sri Lanka, in the space of 2 months, there have been cases of sexual assault or lack of acknowledgement by school management from so called reputed schools such as on Havelock road and International schools on Gregory’s Road.
    There needs to be a a government level regulation for schools both local and international.

    • 2
      2

      The founder of this school RIT was a teacher at Royal in the 60’s . It could be easily verified from students of that era that he was a man who took corporal punishment to another level , sometimes beating children senseless . All in the name of discipline .

      • 3
        2

        Ranil Wickremasinghe was taught by him and hated him.
        .
        Do you wish to know more? Some people like gossip.

  • 59
    18

    I feel sorry for your child because you have screwed up in style. Getting them to kneel down is of course a very light punishment that will remind her to take the books next time. If our parents went to court every time we were punished they would not have had time to do anything else. There were parents during our time who came and complaint every time their kids were punished. Those kids ended up being drug addicts and criminals. Let them be corrected.

    • 41
      16

      Yes totally agree..this parent has created hell out of nothing. The best thing she wud have done is to check her child’s book bag to make sure she takes her stuff according to the timetable.

    • 24
      14

      well said. Couldnt have agreed with you More. If we werent brought up the way we were sont know where we would have ended up. Im sure most of these well educated people who have been so taken up by this whole incident was also given some sort of punishment down the line. The ones who have never under gone any of it are the ones who either end up in prison or end up six feet below by committing suicide .

    • 21
      6

      You want you child to kneel down and have their ears pulled in school? Discipline is necessary for kids both in school and at home but there are methods of discipline much more appropriate than this premitive method.
      I agree that this matter should never have gone so far, but it is not the parent and definitely not the child who should be austasized. The matter should have been handled by the Principal in a diplomatic manner wherein the teacher and the parent should have both been advised on a better way to handle a simple matter as forgetting to bring a book. For me the blame lies totally on the school authorities for a total failure to resolve a simple matter. Shame on the Principal and the school authorities. You have to do much better than this! It looks to me like it’s not just the teacher who has no training but the school authorities too.

    • 7
      6

      @son of the soil,
      So you are a perfect grown man with good habit i presume , why nick name i wonder?
      Every child is different. Every child behaves differently. When you ask a kid to kneel down infront of other kids you destroy him. You wipe off their identity. Corporal punishments are shameless yet lazy shortcut used by last generation. First time you hit kids they will cry. Second time they will be just sad. Third and forth time they will just smirk and do the naughty things when you don’t look. Toss you cane away and talk to the kids nicely discuss with them the good and the bad. They will understand. they are humans.

  • 1
    0

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2

  • 21
    8

    But does she remember to take her English book now?

    • 37
      17

      I guess the teacher who punished this child never forgets anything. He must be so perfect. This kind of punishment is very primitive and found to be more harmful than helpful. It actually shows the teacher’s lack of professionalism and skills because there are many other positive ways to encourage children to do the right thing.

      • 7
        3

        You are right!

      • 3
        1

        Dayum! Neither of us are perfect. But whoever the Sir or Madam that is with you in your classroom is always your 2nd Father or Mother. That’s what in my school (Proud to say Ananda College in Col-10) taught us. :) Cuz, at school they are the ones who took us to the correct path which we are in right now… Their blames, punishments and what not lead is to be good citizens. Not a random fellow being a Thug, Murder or any evil human. One thing we should understand is behind all those “Very Permitive Punishments”, there is something called Care. The care for seeing your own damn child being whoever the dreaming person! God! You should go to a Gov. School. Guess you will Wake, Complaint, Sleep, Repeat pattern will be at Police Stations, Courts and all those legal houses ?

  • 27
    21

    Our children attend Gateway negombo. We as parents want nothing but the best for our children and that is the reason for selecting this school having many other choices.
    The said incident has totally been blown out of proportion and is creating irreconcilable damage to the peace and harmony that has prevailed. First the parents need to get their house in order than trying to punish the teachers. We have witnessed what has happened to children who have grown wild and ended as criminals in this country and the world over. Taking correction at a tender age prevents one from commiting offences in the future. The teachers action was a corrective measure and should not be an as punitive.
    One classic example was recently when a teenager stabbed another over an affair that had gone wrong. This young lad had been shield by his patients over a period of time in school and not accepted correction by the teachers.
    I feel sorry for the child who forgot to bring her books many times and not once as stated. As parents we need to spend more time with our kids and ensure they are well prepared for school than finding fault with teachers and then taking a whole institute to task for our own mistakes. Children need to be corrected and guided for the future and not molly coddled and end up as misfits in society.

    • 21
      14

      Chervon, You seem to have quite an insight to the child’s life and the parenting skills of others. “I feel sorry for the child who forgot to bring her books many times”… How do you know if she forgot the book many times? If so, do you know if the parent may have discussed her child’s memory problems with the teacher? Do you know if the teacher might have informed the parent if it was happening so many times? Doesn’t Gateway have a Parent Teacher Communication book? Did the teacher communicate with the parent before resorting to punish the child? Do you know if the parent had tried to support the child? Do you think the child may have had a reason to forget the same book so many times? In your sorry mind and your excellent parenting skills, did you offer any remedial measures other than black list the parent. Your words “We as parents want nothing but the best for our children” is resonant of an inflammatory whatsapp message that was circulated about the mother. Are you a member of the Gateway brigade that shattered the lives of this family? Are you and your mates, the same who distributed the sticker consumed with blind faith? Do you actually believe that you and the Gateway authorities can intimidate this mother any more? Who is living in la la land now…!

    • 13
      10

      Chervon,
      not knowing all the bits of the aforementioned student properly, you or the kind of parents to evasive comments that could hurt them further is no means right I think. How would you know what went wrong with above child?. Depending on child psycology, student s mental state could vary. So, I dont think anyone from outside just generalize it and leave comments on the subject. That can only be supportive the college, but hurting the victimized parents.

  • 15
    8

    Of course other schools follow better human ways to punish children which they feel shy about them selves. In that case this is ridiculous and they can’t do after incident things to a child because of parents complaign. I dont rwcommend to send any child to this school.

  • 5
    1

    I totally agree with you. Couldn’t have said it better.

  • 13
    11

    We are potetial parents of Gateway. Heard so much about this great institute and marking time to get our little daughter in. We have been to many events held by the school including sports meets, drama festivals and more. My niece and nephew attend this school and are so proud of their almamatar which has inspired my daughter to enter GCN. I have met many parents of the school who peofess to be the luckiest as their children are students of Gateway. The said story upset me as I want my child to be educated and brought up with dicsiplene. I fear to be associated with parents who interfere in the schools admin fuctions causing distruption to the values that we believe in. I strongly emphasis that children need to be corrected and guided by teachers to be not only academics but good citizens. That’s the reason why we are in search of a good school as Gateway. We would reject any school that has no teachers with a back bone to correct our children and just spoil them seeking only cheap popularity to swindle our hard earned money.

    • 15
      8

      Marlon Fernando, when a parent is concerned about their child’s welfare inside the school while in the guardianship of the teachers you consider that as interfere in the schools admin? Well, then you better think of alternative schools because there are 1000+ parents at Gateway who are interfering with admin. It sounds like your definition of a good school is one that endorses punishment to give your children a back bone. Again, Gateway is definitely out for your kids because the school denies such activities. Hope you didn’t pay the non refundable crippling building fee already.

    • 8
      7

      You are making the worst decision of your life sending your kid to this school. Obviously, up front, they are extremely welcoming, but there are no words to describe how utterly horrible this institution is.

      • 3
        4

        I would like to say as a student of gateway for ten years, that it is an amazing institution and only wants the best for the students. All the teachers are very dedicated in making sure we can do the best we can personally I would like to say your opinion of of the school is incorrect under many levels.

  • 21
    4

    Recently parents of a student at Royal College, Colombo had reported how their sons ear was pulled by a teacher until it tore. Previously, I came across an incident where a student who had been assaulted by a teacher had been in a coma for several days. Both these incidents had not been reported for fear of reprisals. For this reason, it is almost impossible to know the extent of violence against children in the country. It goes without saying that an overwhelming number of teachers do not belong to the category of ones who unleash their anger and frustrations on students. However, even one incident is too many as one incident can even result in very grievous mental and physical harm that could potentially be irreversible. The article by this mother is not about her daughter although some commentators have focused only on that. She has used the daughters incident to highlight the plight of many other students who are suffering in silence and the uphill battles that parents face in not being able to do anything about what happens to their children. While it can be debated that some form of minor punishment might be tolerable, leaving the door open for corporal punishment in schools could result in serious physical and mental damage.to students. Long ago, ragging in universities was considered fun. Today it is not, and it has escalated into violent abuse including sexual abuse of both young men and women. The perpetrators of ragging could well be students who were themselves subject to abuse and cruelty as students, not necessarily only at school. Hopefully, commentators who are mostly parents themselves would see the wider picture rather than just this incident reported in this article.

    • 5
      1

      Very well said!

  • 20
    6

    Dr. Wickremanayake, I am compelled to agree with those who say that YOU are to be blamed for making a mountain out of a mole-hill. We were punished in similar manner, and sometimes even more “inhumanely”. Each time I mentioned this to my late mother, who was a medical doctor, she gave me a whack and said that I better learn fast to be more disciplined. Those who are not punished (Spare the rod and spoil the child) will have nothing but regrets in the future. But now, to focus on your case, my best advise is to take the interest of your child in hand and remove her to another school or start private schooling as well as stress management. I am not a very learned person by your standards, but it is, after all the CHILD that matters. God bless you and if you are Christian, keep her covered in prayer as a mother.

    • 4
      7

      Are you one of Job’s Comforter’s?

  • 15
    2

    Unfortunately nowadays parents don’t understand the gravity of correction in school, I’m proud to say, yes I was punished in school! It’s what made me who I am today. These are the spoiled brats who go in to the world and expect everyone else to do their dirty work. Parents need to understand that teachers are children’s second parents, that’s the trust you need to have. Yes some people might mess up but even parents do at times. Save the rod and spoil the child. Whatever this mother did was wrong, the only disorder this child has is MUPD which is Messed Up Parenting Disorder. I remember my parents telling my teachers that they give them total permission to correct me as they see fit which today I understand and accept. It’s not easy to be a teacher when teaching a bunch spoiled brats such as kids nowadays who can’t even climb a bloody tree.

    • 9
      8

      How sad for you. Looks like your parents were too busy to parent you and gave the job over to the teacher.

      That’s nothing to be proud of.

      Teachers mandate is to teach…not parent.

      Grow a set of balls and parent your own kids instead of expecting the teachers to do so.

      • 3
        3

        I Agree with you Nadee.
        Parenting is totally different subject. When i raise my voice sometimes, I talk to my kids and even apologize to them once it is settled. We have to be strict sometimes but we love our kids and We should know when to be strict and when to show love. Let teachers be teachers and parents be parents.

  • 13
    7

    All the commenters here talks as if they were present when this child got punished. No teacher has the right to physically and mentally abuse the child whatever the cause is/was. What happened to the better ways of teaching, the kid forgot the book, give zero points, or ask the students who did not bring the book to do something else or as a teacher S/He should be able to creatively figure something out. Physically abusing any child is not the way to handle “punishments” and for those who are calling “light punishment”. The reason the mother is fighting why teachers are allowed to abuse mentally or physically abuse students, the teachers who are supposed to teach and protect our children. The reason mother is pissed of as hell is to show how messed up court system, NCPA and Alles’s manipulating using their power. The point of her going to court is to advocate for children in schools what is far worst happened to your child at any of the so called international, private or pubic schools who is held accountable? If I am paying for my kid to go to school, then the school has a professional and a moral obligation to me and to my child not to beat my child. The definition of a punishment is subjective. Your version of punishment maybe too light to my version of a punishment. There is no “good or bad punishment” when the teacher is allowed to abuse a child using their hands or another object or words. What are the steps. The clowns who are saying it is the parents fault or the kid learned a lesson clearly have no background on Child Psychology and I hope they pray far worst situation doesn’t happen to their child. I am totally with this woman 100%, It is absolutely possible to scorn a young child because they complained about abuse.

  • 15
    8

    I feel really sorry about the attitude of our parents. Children are not just things to be corrected. They are human beings with dignity and emotions. And as adults are we all correct people?
    Now a days from the developed world punishment is not regarded as the way to rare children. It is positive behavioural support.
    In Sri Lanka are we happy about the behaviour of our adults? For almost 2500 years we are correcting our children with punishments. So if this method is perfect, today we should see a better society. Many SLs who have migrated to other countries praise the behaviour of the citizens of those countries.
    The biggest crime parents are doing for their children is being silent for the psychological cruelty experienced by their children. Such children would grow up in hatred to hate the society. Please support this mother who stood up for the dignity of her child. Why can’t the authority take action against the said teacher. Why do we always assume teachers are correct and children are wrong. How stupid we Sri Lankans are!!!!!

  • 13
    8

    Any form of physical punishment or mental punishment should be abolished. At most detention or writing lines in books hundred times is more appropriate in this day and age.
    Never see this horrid type of discipline in Australia, teachers would lose their license.

  • 12
    8

    No offense to so called adults who has justified it but until this happens to your own child you all can be the best philosophers in town. Also feel pity for barberic background you humans have brought up in. Yes I was punished too but it never did correct me but of course I did pretend things gonna be all fine after but that trauma or humiliation they do put you through affects at later stages of life. When there are so many humane ways of correcting a child why physical punishments.. World is moving but our asian countries still moving towards stone age.
    A small piece of advise no offense who wants to send their kids to Gateway nowadays when there are so much of better International schools. If you can afford send your kid to Overaeas International School not only your child will be always from this primitive minded teachers & parents but get move around with truly classy & lovely humans. Their kids are from all part of the world so they will be more open minded unlike those ganged up hooligans at Gateway !! Let people criticize you but be strong you are fighting for your child cos you are a mother. Justice will prevail but make sure your kid is out of that pithole by the time happens. Gd luck

  • 9
    9

    Wonder what all the Pschoanalysts commenting here would do,if this little girl was their own…all these high and mighty J judgements on the mother?
    Dr.Tush,I feel much for your little girl and you. I wish you would remove her from that school though…she needs to forget that harsh environment and heal.
    My prayers are with you.

  • 6
    5

    There seems to be two schools of thought on the captioned subject within this forum.
    01. Those who think that children need not be corrected or using sugar coated methods to correct them.
    02. Those who believe that children need to be corrected and guided to accept reality in life.
    In a democratic world we need to respect individual thinking.

    A common confession made by inmates of jwenile correction centres and young adults serving prison terms is that “Only if we were corrected on time we won’t be here”.

    We have a choice in selecting our children’s schools. It would be best to let parents decide on what they want for their children.

    • 7
      6

      Chervon, you nailed it in the last sentence. This parent decided she does not want corporal punishment for her child yet you seem to enforce it upon her. Actually, the parent even accepted the corporal punishment but she really didn’t accept the crappy intimidation that parents and school authorities put her and her child through. So, when did this family interfere in your parenting skills that you feel compelled to make choices for her daughter? In a subtle way, you still seem to be wanting to intimidate her too…

  • 9
    8

    No one has the right to punish. They are childrens. When they make mistakes then the teachers and school have to deal it formally with their parents. Not bringing a book isn’t a big chrime. Teacher could have asked someone to share it with her and that’s what our teachers did with us. Sharing is also something that every student has to learn. And btw when the parent has an issue, then why isn’t the school addressing it in a decent way. It’s after all a simple matter, and the school couldn’t handle it. Such a shame. Education is to be tought. Not forced with Punishments. Srilankan style. Lol. Better to put her in another school.

  • 7
    7

    All of you talking about what the parent did n what the teacher did and if it was right or wrong.But what about the Damn resposible Principal…..what about her stupid and irresponsible ways and approach in handling this matter….which certainly should not hsve gone this far….where the schools admin n board n some parents having to get involved to cover the matter. The irresponsible principal is to be blamed…even after it solved ammicabaly to go and stir it up and provoke dis harmony among students…

  • 2
    7

    i have nothing much to say.
    If this happened to my child I know what to do.[edited out]

  • 12
    8

    I wish I had the strength like you to fight injustice. My child also underwent the same dilemma in another private school and we also found ourselves helpless in front of the authorities.
    In the same school whilst waiting to meet the principle again on a matter relating to my child, we overheard a scolding by a teacher to a student in grade four for her cloths not well iorned and hair not kempt. She was basically bullied by her teacher in front of all other students in the class. We immediately decided to give up the battle and take our children out.
    His counselor, who was also helpless in the matter adviced us to take him out. She was right.
    My child was lucky to find a guardian angel and a set of human beings in another school who worked tirelessly to take him out of the mess and he managed get through his o level exam well.
    We are living in a society who does not understand human and social values because our generation was never taught of those. Part of that generation are now teachers and what sort of human values and guidance can you expect from them? I’m not pointing my finger at all the teachers but dominant force is that.

  • 13
    8

    Thank you Gateway College for clarifying the truth about the wild allegations circulated in social media. At Gateway College, we are encouraged to have an open mind and listen to both sides of the story. We request everyone to share this article widely so that all are aware of the true nature of the incident at Gateway College Negombo.

    “TO THE MEMBERS OF THE GATEWAY FAMILY,
    We thank you for the concerns expressed and the encouraging support you have extended to us regarding the article damaging the good name of the school that is being widely circulated in social media. We would like to reassure you that we are aware of the situation and vehemently oppose the malicious, unethical, ‘mudslinging’ campaign undertaken by the writer. Her intentions are very clear as she has boosted the article through her own Facebook page.
    The said incident took place a year ago. There were nine children involved. The other eight children and their Parents thought nothing of the incident. The writer for reasons known to herself distorted the facts and started on a malicious campaign. The incident was blown out of proportion by the writer whereas the Parents of the other eight children were of the opinion that what had happened was very trivial. The matter was attended to and resolved within a week. The continuous actions of the writer, for reasons known to herself, have been condemned by the Parents of the other eight children.
    Before and after the incident, the writer has been causing immense harassment to the Principal and the teachers of the school for a number of years. She has also caused much embarrassment to the school through her actions outside the school. In order to see an end to this saga, our Chairman wrote to her twice as shown below:

    • 4
      2

      Afterall he/she is a parent of one of your student. She/he has selected your school in the hope of providing better eduction for their children. Why she has suddenly decided to go through all this pain? just to pass time? Clearly there is a an unsolved grievances. What were the steps taken to solve it? We are interested to see that not a pointless statement. Eight parents agreed to be silent? so what? This parent is wrong? What are you trying to say?

  • 7
    2

    Raj Gonsalkorale, Very well said!

  • 11
    7

    Chairman wrote to her twice as shown below:
    “Therefore, on my part, I would like to offer a transfer to your children, especially your elder child if you so desire, to Gateway College Colombo where the curriculum and the teaching and learning programme is identical. If you, of course, have better options, I will arrange a refund of fees that you have paid for May-August 2018.” (May 2018)
    “Considering the current situation, you are best advised to find alternate schools for your children. I have in good faith, offered a transfer to Gateway College Colombo, especially to your elder child, so that he will not have any setback to his exam preparation as he will be going to Year 11. You have carefully avoided discussing the removal of your children from Gateway Negombo even though in one of your letters you had said that your children are ‘stuck’ at Gateway College Negombo” (June 2018)
    During the last year, the writer has intensified her nasty campaign through media. We, as a responsible organization have been very tolerant considering the well-being of the two children.
    A fortnight ago, we were informed that she has filed court action against the Chairman and the Principal. Incidentally, the action is not limited to the Chairman and the Principal only but also against the Minister of Education, Secretary of Education, Minister of Child Affairs, Chairman of the Child Protection Authority, the Inspector general of Police, the OIC of the Seeduwa Police and the Attorney General. We were very pleased to present our case in courts but she came to court and requested for a postponement. We were confident that she has no case. Our lawyers expressed their absolute keenness to get the case started on the 23rd of January 2019 when the case was called but we have to now wait for another day due to her asking for a postponement.

  • 12
    2

    This sheds some light on the history of events on the current situation. The teacher left or was asked to leave after the incident. So the teacher has been punished irrespective of his intentions that is now seen as a crime. If justice means an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, the teacher would have be brought to school and knelt in public. This is what some politicians did when their children were corrected not very long ago.
    Now even the principal is attacked. How about the high achievemets of this school and the commitment and dedication of the staff who supported students reach unpresidented levels of success. As parents we don’t want to lose this school or its image to be damaged any further.

  • 6
    11

    Vidujith, Lessons learned and reconciliation process includes several key stages 1) acknowledgement 2) apology 3) accountability and 4) avoidance. I see nothing in the above statement except a reprisal by Gateway against the mother. Especially, divulging legal matters resonates the actions that the Principal had taken after agreeing to settle at Police when the incident occurred. One year ago too, the Principal divulged confidential information in an attempt to instigate a Gateway Family uprising. Interestingly, there is no denial of Principal’s misconduct on collecting letters, intimidating the victim child, Whatsapp group, stickers, loss of schooling for the child, psychological set back of the child, etc. There is no confirmation that Gateway acted in any way to fortify the child’s welfare. The whole focus of the letter is about black listing the mother as a dramatic over reacting, nuisance woman. On the contrary, Gateway has conveniently, yet again, ignored the Author’s sensible approach to the lessons learned and reconciliation process 1) transparent complaint procedure 2) compulsory child psychology training for teachers and 3) an active child protection policy. The welfare of this child whilst in the guardianship of the school lies with the Chairman, Principal and Staff of Gateway not the other parents or the Alumni Association. Therefore, it is irrelevant if the other parents were masochistic sadists who dismissed the welfare of their own children. This letter is indicative of a pathetic attempt to pacify the Alumni and mislead the public. I hope the mother continues to seek justice for her child and other children. More power to you!

    • 0
      2

      Well said

  • 7
    1

    Gateway as has a very clear policy that no physical punishment are to be used by its teachers. It is clearly conveyed to them at their appointment. The ‘right start’ the handbook Gateway of group issued to its teachers provides much specific guidelines to teachers. So Gateway indeed has a very clear policy for child protection. This is just one isolated incident. By all means the principal had the right to inquire the incident and obtain written statements from students who witnessed it. Since the complaint was by Dr. Thush and her child principal might have considered it is unecessary to inquire from her child again. If the principal did so Dr. Thush might call it intemidation and mental harassment against her kid. Teachers are being provided adequate trainings at every annual workshop, and most of the academic staffmembers have post graduate qualifications in Education. Anyone would know that all the post graduate qualications in education covers child psychology and education psychology components. All these information is conveyed to the parents. Public can this info from the official website of Gateway College. Please do read the annual review. A school is not a factory, it deals with human souls not goods. Where teachers and parents should work together for the betterment of the kids. The day teachers stop desciplining the students, we will hear more and more about stabbings and shootings commited by students in our country. Even when a crime is investigated the intention of the suspect is taken into consideration. When teacher punishes child his or her intention should be taken into account without being hurried to call them child abusers. Outof all what ethical and moral this lady comands to discuss an incident that is being heard at courts, mentioning the names of the all the parties involved. Are’nt their rights are being violated by this very article?

  • 8
    2

    I read the article to a bunch of 20 year olds who are in college and they laughed their heads off and said, if we were not punished during our school years and the way we behaved, we wouldn’t be in college today. They continued to remind each other the the punishments they got as if they were like good old memories.
    This bunch of boys are leaders in different institutes too.
    May be they think differently…

  • 2
    3

    From once Concerned to another – have you actually read the Right Start booklet? On page 18 of this booklet there is one sentence ‘Corporal punishment is prohibited’. That is it! It does not provide “much specific guidelines to the teachers”. An active Child Protection Policy should be more than one sentence with a course/action plan to safeguard the child and a transparent process to follow including how to ensure mental and physical well being of the victim and how to deal with the offending staff member. The lack of process led to the misguided escalating series of incidents. The Author very clearly states this was the nth time, meaning more than one isolated incident. Nth suggesting unaccountable. The Principal had no right to inquire after confidential inquiry was concluded and settled at the Police Station. So, what on earth did she do with the information that she collected? Give it to her boss, the Chairman? If so, he is just as guilty as a participant of the exercise to cover up. Did she use the information contained in the statements to prevent further incidents? As it did not lead to any productive outcome, it appears that it was a mere witch hunt. The Author does not indicate shortcomings in academic structure of the school. However, the 2017 Annual Review available on the website, an internal review report does not have any section on Child Protection/Welfare. The Author also does not wish the teacher to be dealt in a punitive manner. The intention of the teacher that ends in a child getting hurt cannot be accepted nor tolerated, however misguided the man might be. But the fact is that Gateway does not provide a process to prevent nor protect any further incidents.

  • 0
    5

    It is very pathetic to read that the people are lost in the woods because of the trees. If a mother is not there to defend a child who else is there. Individuals like Tush must be encouraged to bring the laundry out to the sun for drying. Our society needs lot of correction. Majority of the people are gutless to call a spade a spade. Some of the comments made are not sincere and are hypocritical.

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