In a shocking incident, three students from Vilavoorkal Government Higher Secondary School in Thiruvananthapuram were suspended last week for raising their voices in support of rape victims.
They were putting up posters in their classroom in support of the Walayar sisters, who were raped and later found dead at their house in 2017.
On Thursday, the school principal summoned the 12th class students and asked them to bring their parents to school. The next day, the school authorities told their parents that not only their posters were not allowed inside the class but also the students will be suspended for a week.
After parents pleaded the management, the suspension period was shortened to three days.
But, what will break your heart is the reason behind the suspension. The posters that led to the suspension were nothing but a call for justice for rape victims.
One of the posters that led to suspension read:
“Justice for Walayar Sisters: Those who are supposed to protect, attack. Those who should show you what’s right, did what’s wrong. Those who should pave the way, drag you to the street. Daughter, you are alone.”
The Walayar case pertains to the alleged rape and murder of two minor sisters, whose accused were acquitted recently by a POCSO court. There are public allegations that members of the ruling political partly – Left Democratic Front (LDF) – supported the accused in the case.
Speaking to TNM, the father of one of the suspended students mentioned how he was proud of his son and couldn’t understand what the students’ mistake was. He mentioned:
“The pictures they drew really stand out. Reading the lines on the poster – I wonder what their fault was
If posters are not allowed in the classroom, they could have just warned the students. Suspending them is just total harassment.They are preparing to write their public exams in the next few months, such irresponsible actions will hurt them.”
Further adding how the students were made to tear their posters, the father said,
“There was no obscenity in the posters. It was creative, and it came from their young minds.”
Though the school principal Preetha BR justified the suspension by mentioning that the school’s action was not politically motivated, and was only disciplinary action for pasting posters without permission.
To which one of the parents mentioned to the TNM:
“If posters are not allowed in the classroom, they could have just warned the students. Suspending them is just total harassment.”
At IFORHER, we believe our schools need to encourage our students to raise their voices for seeking justice for the rape victims. Rather than penalizing and harassing the students and their families for doing the right thing, we wish the school actually celebrates their courage and determination to bring change in the society.