A school in south Mumbai's Bandra laid down instructions for parents including dress codes and cellphone usage. The parents of Rizvi Springfield School were told to wear "decent and modest attire".
Parents of class 9 were in for a shock when they were handed instructions with report cards. They were asked to sign an undertaking saying, "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 or abuse/mistreat staff "verbally or non-verbally".
Some of the parents were outraged at the set of instructions given by the school.
"Why should a school try to tell parents what they can or cannot wear or whether to carry mobile phones? We are responsible people and haven't seen indecent behaviour or dressing by any parents," said a mother. Not only are they incensed about this they are also upset over the school trying to stop them from raising objections over their disciplinary measures against students.
While others alleged that the set of instructions came in the wake of altercation with the management over staff, fee hikes, etc.
The school's director Rubina Rizvi said in her defence:
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"Some parents 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.
How other parents reacted
Parents in metros like Mumbai and Bangalore had varied reaction to the orders.
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Author Lavanya Shanbhogue-Arvind, who lives in Mumbai, and has a school-going son, told International Business Times, India, "I do believe that schools have to take steps to ensure a healthy inter-personal and harmonious environment for students, parents, teachers and the management. This has to be done through dialogue, not diktats and undertakings. I disagree with the imposition of any kind of dress code on parents and as I see it, it is simply a form of moral policing. If there has been an instance of someone grossly in violation of decorum, privately taking it up with the concerned party might be a way to do it rather than impose such a undertaking that is entirely patronising in nature. However, I do agree with the policy of the school to protect staff from the rude behaviour of parents."
Another mother from Bangalore, who has two school-going children, told IBT India, "One should always wear modest clothes in schools. It is not acceptable if someone shows up in shorts. But the school needs to define what they mean by decent, it is so subjective".
A mother, Sheetal Kariwala, from Malad in Mumbai, told IBT India, "It is not the school's prerogative to tell us what to wear or if we should carry phones inside. We are responsible people and switch off our phones anyway. It is wrong to tell us what to wear."