Kerala High Court Upholds School’s Decision To Expel Student For Hugging Female Friend
December 18th, 2017
The Kerala High Court has upheld the decision passed by a school to expel a boy who publicly hugged a female classmate. The incident happened on August 21.
St Thomas Central School, Thiruvananthapuram expelled the boy for hugging the female classmate on school premises and then uploading the photo of it on Instagram. He hugged her to congratulate her after she won a prize at the school’s Arts Festival. Both were expelled but were allowed to participate in classes until September.
The teachers who witnessed the incident said that she was shocked to see such public display of affection. After the apparent indecent incident, the school authorities also held him guilty for uploading those pictures on Instagram saying that was against their disciplinary code.
According to Rajan Varghese, secretary of Mar Thoma Church Educational Society, the student was given transfer certificate as the incident was a “violation of school’s disciplinary code”. The parents of the 16-year-old moved to the High Court challenging the decision. They also approached the child rights commission, who on October 4 asked the school to allow him to attend classes.
The boy and the girl both apologized to the school authorities. In the court, the boy argued that his Instagram account was private and he did not give permission to any one of the school authorities to access the same.
However, Justice Chaly observed: “I find that various photographs were posted on Instagram in various compromising positions, and if it had the effect of publicity, the issue hampers the reputation of the school.” He opined that it was absolutely within the rights of the school to maintain and sustain the standard and reputation of the school.
However, the Court observed that it cannot interfere with the school’s decision. The Court also explained the jurisdiction of child rights does not extend to the school’s disciplinary action.