After uproar, Pune school rescinds order on girls’ underwear

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Pune, July 5 (IANS) After a furore, a prominent private co-education school here withdrew a bizarre order mandating all girl students to wear only white or beige underwear on campus, an official said here on Thursday.

The orders, which furious parents and social activists termed as “draconian and infringing on individual privacy”, were issued by the MIT Vishwashanti Gurukul School in Kothrud recently, making it compulsory for girl students to sport only “white or beige inner-wears” under their white skirts from the current academic year.

However, the school management had sought to justify the same on grounds of safety of the girl students and to prevent them from being targeted by the boy students.

Parents were required to adhere to this by signing a diary daily, failing which the violators could face action, it had warned.

As a large number of embarrassed but angry parents protested against the strange diktat, Education Minister Vinod Tawde intervened on Wednesday and directed the Pune Director of Education and other officials to visit the school and inquire into the matter.

Accordingly, a team of education officers from the Pune Municipal Corporation called on the school authorities and spoke with the agitating parents on Thursday (today) afternoon and ruled in favour of the parents and girl students community.

They directed the MITVGS management to immediately withdraw its order and the compulsory diary entry, to which the latter complied.

In a statement this evening, the school management unconditionally yanked off its earlier orders, while contending that “it was student-centric, intended in the best interests of the student community and not meant to hurt individual or group sentiments”.

Earlier, MAEER MITVGS Executive Director and Trustee Suchitra Karad-Nagare defended the orders, saying it was issued following complaints from some parents whose daughters were subjected to cat-calling when they sported dark coloured underwear under their white-coloured uniforms.

“In the past, we had complaints from some girls about unpleasant experiences faced by them, so instead of calling the parents of girls individually, we included the rules about the inner-wears in the diary,” she told media persons.

Additionally, the management imposed strict restrictions on the number of times the students could go to the toilets or drink water and circulated a time-table for this, except for emergencies or medical reasons when the students would take prior permission and be accompanied by a buddy.

The school also asked the irked parents to sign affidavits on these undergarments and disciplinary measures, to which they hit back saying the “students were mature enough and it was not necessary or relevant to mention such guidelines in the school diary”.

The toilet break was intended to instil discipline as some students spent long time there missing their classes, while taps were often left open or leaking, the school management had said.



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