The recent sentencing of three teachers to jail for beating a student has sparked a reaction from National School Principals who are virtually proclaiming a siege in schools.
Principals say the situation has been further aggravated by the Ministry circular on school discipline, which prevents them from taking action against unruly students and is causing them severe administrative problems.
The National School Principals` Union at a special meeting yesterday decided to take up the issue of school discipline with the Education Ministry.
A principal of a leading school said on condition of anonymity that the Ministry circular regarding disciplinary action against students, had prevented teachers from punishing students, and had led to indiscipline among school students reaching unprecedented levels.
?According to the present circular, we cannot punish students even if they are caught smoking ganja. Sometimes, students are involved in robbery during school hours,? he said adding that some students smoked ganja within school premises, cut subject periods and damage school property like desks and chairs.
He added that teachers had been inconvenienced by parents taking up disciplinary matters in Courts. ?There should be a mechanism at the school and Ministry level to cope with such cases without going to Court,? he said. Last week the Assistant Principal and two teachers of DS Senanayake College were sentenced by the Colombo High Court to two years jail for assaulting a student. The trio were later released on bail.In addition to challenging the circular on school discipline the principals also plan to hold talks regarding all other circulars relevant to school administration. These decisions were taken up at a meeting of the National School Principals` Union presided by Royal College Principal Upali Gunasekara.
Meanwhile, Education Professionals` Association secretary Wasantha Dharmasiri said they had instructed all their members to refrain from punishing students even if they are found guilty of unruly activities.