Just when the world is busy paying tribute to fathers on Father’s Day, a mother has learned its importance in a hard way. In a rather surprising state of events, Sujata Mohite, a single mother from Nerul, has alleged that principle Saira Kennedy of St. Lawrence School in Vashi had denied admission to her son on the grounds of her being a single parent. Sujata recorded the conversation with the principal and shared it on her social media, which went viral in just the matter of a few hours.
“My son was studying in Poddar School which is a part of ICSE, and I wanted him to study in the State board so I chose this school. I am a working parent and can afford my child’s education,” says Sujata, who is a sales manager in a real estate firm and had separated from her husband four years ago.
Reiterating the incident, Sujata shares that she inquired about a vacancy in the school in April and was informed by the administration about a spot. However, when she went to the school with her son, the principal refused to admit him stating that there’s no vacancy. Later, Sujata approached her friend whose kids were studying in the same school. “I asked one of my references to check if there’s a vacancy in standard two for my son. There was one and when I went there the next day; they asked me to wait outside and called my friend in the office. She told my friend that they would not give admission to my son because I am a single parent. Later when I went to her cabin she was extremely rude,” she recalls. Despite this bias, Sujata was still ready to leave the place quietly but because the principal was rude and her ground for denying the admission was not legally right, she felt it necessary to post it on a public forum and recorded the video. “My son is just in second class, he has to study further. If my son has to go through this every time, then how will he cope?” she says.
So far, the country’s education system doesn’t have a rule of denying admission on this ground. However, in the video, the principle is seen reiterating that they don’t give such admissions as it becomes difficult to handle single parents. “Who made this law? As a school, they need fees and I am capable of paying. My monthly salary is equivalent to the entire year’s fees of my son,” she assures. She also tried to validate her statement by producing all her documents but was still denied the admission. Sujata in her video also questioned about the scenario when the father dies or parents get separated after the admission. The principle is seen responding with ‘it is then unfortunate but we don’t give admission in your cases’. “If the government has made the law that a mother can have the custody of a child, then why is the school denying the admission? Who is she to decide the criteria?” she asserts.
Many people including some mothers on the Internet have shared the video. A user named Khushboo had even asked if the principle has the same rule for Army kids. “Principal of St Lawrence high school in Vashi Navi Mumbai is denying to take admission for single-parent students. Does the Principal have the same rules for our Army kids??? Raise your voice against such rules by the school.”