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Why authorities are silent when a special need child faces discrimination?

Hi everyone, myself Sonia Multani, I am single mother of 13 years old boy with down syndrome. Although he is special kid, but he has done tremendous works in his short span of life. My son Mehtab has been very keen towards sports activities such as skating, and swimming and he has won several gold and silver medals in these sports. Not only this my son is also a brand ambassador of one clothing brand namely "U.S. POLO". My son has done modelling for this brand.

Apart from the above said activities my son has always been very humble, friendly and very disciplined when it comes to his nature. Mehtab is studying in special wing of the Little Flower convent school (Sector-14, Panchkula, Haryana) from last five years and in all these years, we never received any complaint related to academics, curricular activities or classroom behaviour.

But things get changed in May 2019, when principal of the school transferred, and new principal joined school. As the facilities for special need children were not up to the mark and I was constantly raising my voice for the betterment of special children during the parent teacher meetings, other parents of special children joined me.

We all raised our concerns together as there were no facilitates available for students of special wing (no coach for sports, speech therapist, physiotherapist, no transport facilities, there is no dance and music teacher available for special students. There was no teacher for vocational training or course for our kids and no IEP (INDIVIDUALIZED EDUCATION PROGRAM) for special kids.

I wrote a letter which was further signed by other parents requesting the school to provide proper care and support to our kids. This letter sparked a rift between me and the school. The principal started to blame me for bringing other parents against the school. Thereafter school started harassing me and my son by sending a series of complaint letters. They started blaming that my son is hurting other children in classroom and his behaviour is not good at all. They advised me that my son need psychiatrist. I know they were doing this because I raised my voice against the poor facilitates being provided by the school.

However, on their complaint, I consulted with Dr Aarzoo Assistant Professor Psychiatrist at Govt. Medical College and Hospital at Sector-32 Chandigarh. Post examination it had been declared that there are no significant behavioural problems reported. I submitted this report with school management along with Mehtab’s Skating and Swimming coach’s opinion letter on his behaviour.

I again met with school principal and requested to consider the IEP Program, which is very helpful for special children, but the principal got offended and gradually started putting false allegation on my son’s behaviour and his character to push us to change the school. I was 100% confident about my son’s behaviour and they are doing it because I raised my voice along with other parents for our children. They were not ready to follow the law and compliance instead they keep pressurising us to leave the school.

In last five years, I never received any complained for my son’s behaviour from previous principal and teachers. And finally, school authorities took extreme step on 30th Sep 2019 when they rusticated my son from the school in mid-session without any prior notice. My son has done nothing wrong for which he is facing this severe punishment from the schools are meant to educate children and not to wreak their future in their personal vengeance. Schools are not meant to discourage a child to such an extent that a child stops growing further.

Apart from school principal no-one ever complained about my son’s behaviour, though everyone appreciated his multiple talent and his nature.

I have now filled a case against the school in Chandigarh High Court. As special children can’t express their feelings or emotions, it doesn't mean that anyone has got the right to play with their emotions and future. It's very important to change this system and people's mindset. Our children are not less than anyone, the only thing is they leg in certain areas but with little support they can do amazing things which a normal kid can’t imagine.

Today whether its school or therapist or doctors everyone just looting our hard-earned money and destroying our kid’s future on the name of providing guaranteed treatment and additional support to our kids. Like any citizen of this country we do pay tax and obey rules and believe in constitution, but why we are not getting enough support for our kids? Why we are forced to pay extra fee in school? Why there is no authority to check authenticity of therapist? Why there is no audit and compliance to ensure whether schools providing inclusive education or not? Why therapies and medical treatment for autism is not covered under any medical insurance? There are so many questions whose answer we need for the better future of our kids. If we fail to get the answer, our kids will fail to live a better life.

Somewhere we all are facing similar issues and fighting our own battle individually for the betterment of our kids. We all have common problems and to fix that we all need to work together instead of working separately. I have made a beginning and I want your support for the future of my child and your child. To fight with these powerful institutions, together we need to raise voice for our children’s right so they can live their life with dignity.

I have started highlighting this matter in social media and mainstream media, so this school won’t play with future of any other child. I raised my voice for my child’s right to education and dignity. I am going to take this matter in public and media because Department Of Education and Deputy Commissioner of Panchkula has not taken any strict action against this school, whose Special Wing is neither recognized by Department of Education nor registered with RCI (Rehabilitation Council of India).

I am not getting enough help from government authorities as school management is more powerful than me, but I have full faith in me and my god that I will win this battle for the better future of my son and other kids who everyday facing such discrimination.

If you also want this change for your children, then be a part of this movement. Because only we parents can do this for our children, no one else will raise their voice for our children and nor fight for their rights. I only believe, if this fight is for rights and justice of our children then I'll fight this battle for betterment and bright future of these kids, and I hope you agree with me.

Please help me to bring this matter to higher authorities who can help us, share my message over social media with your friends and colleagues as much as possible and if there is any other parent who is facing the same can connect with me, so together we can fight for our children.

If you want to join this movement, please contact at +91-9911538884.

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