Apart from disciplining its students, a school in Bandra has sent out instructions to parents too, especially about clothes they should wear at crucial school meetings. The parents have been told to ensure they come “decent and modest attire“.

When parents of Std IX students from Rizvi Springfield School went to collect their children's report cards on March 30, they were handed out instructions they must abide by . The undertaking, which the parents were expected to sign, said, “I will always come to school in decent and modest attire. If failed to do so, I will be responsible for the consequences.“ Among other things, parents are expected to deposit mobile phones at the reception when they come for meetings or events, not question inappropriately or abusemistreat staff “verbally or non-verbally“.

The move has not gone well with some parents. “Why should a school try to tell parents what they can or cannot wear or whether to carry mobile phones? We are respon sible people and haven't seen indecent behaviour or dressing by any parents,“ said a mother. The parents are also upset about the school telling them not to object to disciplinary action against students.

Some parents alleged the school was using the undertaking to silence them. “There is a lot of trouble in the school related to staff, fee hikes and management, which some of us are trying to protest. This is not something the school is happy about,“ said a parent who withdrew her child's admission last December.

But the school said it was necessary to issue the instructions to maintain the school's sanctity. “Some pa rents come to meetings in very casual wear, which is unacceptable. Sometimes, mobile phones start ringing. Similarly, we have had instances of parents talking rudely to staff. As a school, we follow rules set by the government but we can make our own rules to create a good atmosphere for students,“ said school director Rubina Rizvi.

Principals in the city feel there has been an increased need to communicate with parents about what is acceptable inside institutions. “Sometimes, parents use mobile phones to record a conversation in school and could misuse it.It is however important that schools and parents commu nicate. Instead of telling parents not to do something, they must tell parents why it must not be done. This has always worked for us. Schools cannot be authoritative,“ said Chandrakanta Pathak, principal, HVB Global Academy , Marine Drive.

At Swami Vivekananda International Group of Schools, director, Yogesh Patel writes an advisory to parents at the end of every year. “A school has to care about the overall development of the child. This is influenced by the behavior of the parents as well, hence we send out a letter giving them tips on parenting and it is always welcomed,“ he said.

Parents warned against staging protests

A private school in Chandivli has used its prospectus to warn parents against protests at the school. The school's brochure states, “Parents should not disturb the peaceful atmosphere prevailing in the school by bringingjoining a morchaprotestdharna or malign or defame the schoolmanagement or postcirculate false defamatory or slanderous statements on mediaforum or act in a manner detrimental or prejudicial to the interest of the school.“ The school warned parents that the student could be suspended or admission cancelled in case they participate, not pay fees on time or do not abide by its rules. This, parents claimed it was a practice in several schools. TNN

TIMES VIEW:

This does not appear to be a case of moral policing. It is a reasonable expectation that parents should not turn up at PTA meetings and other such important interactions in shorts or other extremely casual wear. So long as the school does not enter the `moral cop' zone, it cannot be said to be overstepping the mark.