Abused child forced to leave the school by the principal

(August 02, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Mr. Saliya Chandrasena and Padma Jayanthi are the parents of an 11 year child, Aruna Dinujaya Chandrasena. They wanted to admit their child to a better school for his education so in May 2011 they admitted their child to Lakpahana Adventist College Mailapitiya to year 6. During the process of admitting the child the principal asked the parents to pay Rs. 116,600/= to the school which they did. Later the child was sent to the school's hostel. Then after one week the child went home complaining about abuse by senior students and the warden of the hostel, a Mr. Stanley. However at the insistence of the parents the child was again sent to the hostel on 30 May. But the next day the child escaped from the school with another child as he was no longer able to bear the harassment and abuse. The parents then made a complaint regarding the abuse to the Thalathuoya Police Station. However, the officers did not inquire into the complaint of abuse but instead claimed that the child had stolen a wrist watch and Rs. 350/= from the school; this allegation was after a verbal complaint made by the principal. As a result the child was expelled from the school at the request of the principal. The Rs. 116,600/= paid by the parents was not returned. This case is yet another illustration of the connivance of the police with the state authorities and teaching staff.


According to the information the Asian Human Rights Commission has received Mr. Saliya Chandrasena and Padma Jayanthi of 'Ajantha' Kiriporuwa, Ampagala, Bulathkohupitiya are the parents of an 11-year-child, Aruna Dinujaya Chandrasena. Saliya is a driver employed at the Central Finance Company (CFC). It was the greatest wish of Saliya and Padma to give Aruna a good education. In May 2011 Aruna was admitted to Lakpahana Adventist College Mailapitiya to year 6 and was also admitted to the boarding hostel of the same school.

For admission into the school Aruna's parents were asked to pay Rs. 116,600/= which they paid with the assistance of Aruna's aunt in Australia. However within a week Aruna returned home saying that he was subjected to inhuman treatment and abuse by the senior students of the boarding and the warden Mr. Stanley. At the request of the parents Aruna returned to school on the 30 May 2011 but on the 31 Aruna left the school with another friend, due to the severe harassment by the senior students.

Shockingly, neither the principal not the school authorities instigated a search for the missing children. Nor did they made a report to the police. Aruna's parents found him as he was making his way home. On 6 June the parents made a complaint to the Thalathuoya Police Station regarding the abuse, harassment and inhuman treatment. The police held an inquiry on 8 June 2011.

At the inquiry the Lakpahana School's principal accused Aruna and his friend of stealing a wrist watch and Rs. 350/=. Rather than make any realistic inquiries into the allegations of abuse the police officers scolded Aruna and his friend in abusive language and forced them to accept the allegation. Due to the threats of the police Aruna and his friend confessed that they stolen the items and Aruna's father was forced to pay Rs. 3500/= in compensation to the principal at the police station. He did this in the hopes that Aruna would be able to continue his schooling.

However, after receiving the money the principal then told the parents that Aruna was expelled from the school and would not be readmitted. None of this was recorded by the police. When Aruna's father requested the principal to refund the money paid to the school only a week before he told the parents that the school would not return the full amount.

On 19 June Aruna's father went to the Thalathuoya Police Station once again to request the money he deposited with the school, in order that he would be able to admit him to another school. However the principal refused to refund the money but agreed to only provide a leaving certificate.

The parents, Saliya and Padma, felt that the school authorities were working in hand in hand. Furthermore, Aruna is now without a school and being denied his right to education. The police officers have not taken any action regarding the allegations of inhuman treatment and abuse by the warden and the senior students.

Therefore they request impartial inquiries into the incident and the deposited money to be returned so that they can afford to send Aruna to another school. 

Source: Asian Human Rights Commission 

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