Editor’s Note: #ChalkfullBullying is a campaign that resolves to tell stories about gender-based bullying that happens in school, where students, especially non-binary and girl students, are subject to harassment, moral policing, severe disciplining and punishment, and routine bullying. Their fault being: for not conforming to outdated gender stereotypes, the repercussions for which can scar us for a lifetime.
Beyond the superficial fabric of what makes a ‘prestigious’ educational institution lies many instances of abuse and bullying directed at students who do not conform to the institution’s regressive idea of ‘the good girl’ and ‘the obedient student’. The stories laid out below are a compilation of 5 anonymous girl students’ experiences at St Anthony’s School and the varied forms of bigotry that they (in one case, even their family members) were subject to:
1) Slapped for owning a wallet
It was my last exam in class 11. The council members were asked to stay back after the assembly and check others’ bags in their absence (which is so wrong). One staff member got a hold of my bag and found my wallet and tried to confiscate it. I tried to reason with her, asking whether we were allowed to carry money to school or not.
She slapped me, saying that I would buy drugs and cigarettes out of this money. She was shouting so loudly that she could be heard from the first floor. I was told by my class teacher not to tell my mother about what happened. Not a single teacher stood up for me and everybody thought I was at fault.
When my mother called the school, we were told that said staff member was not in the school and won’t come back for about 5 days. On the result day, my mother went to talk to her where she denied having ever slapped me. Instead, she told my mother that I was ill-mannered and she was the one who gave an undeserving student like me an opportunity to flourish.
2) Shamed for wearing shorts
I had gone to take my provisional exams in shorts. Rev. Sister Matilda looked at me with so much disgust and asked me what example I was setting for my juniors. My class teacher Rajni Ma’am would also fabricate tales about me to my mother. She even told me that I wouldn’t receive admission in any college nor would I be able to do anything in life.
3) Called names for having ear piercings
I was called a future drug addict, alcoholic and hippie. I was denounced as someone who does not have a future in front of a lot of students and teachers. Why? All because I had two piercings in each ear.
Also Read: Dear Teachers, I Refuse To Be Your Standard ‘Good Girl’ | #ChalkfullBullying
4) Expelled because I forgot a pen drive
In Class 10, I was prevented from entering school in order to ‘save’ a teacher who abused and humiliated me in class. This happened despite the school knowing that the teacher openly insulted my family background, cross-questioned my friends about it and abused my mother for instilling such ‘values’ in me.
You ask why? I forgot to carry a pen drive to her class that day. Yes, I thank my mother for teaching me the right values in life. Trying to match your level of abuse doesn’t match up to where I come from.
This teacher twisted the story in front of the principal when she was asked by my father to prove my family background and character. She blamed everything on me and the principal believed her. Little did I know teachers had already ‘ganged up’ against me and forced my entire class to write a false letter about the incident.
My mother was surrounded by 5-6 teachers and my vice principal. My mom covered her hair with a hijab. She was being repeatedly harassed by being pushed and pulled and they kept pulling her scarf down in order to humiliate her.
That moment I decided: it’s now or never. I went through this crowd and pulled my mother’s hand and forced her to leave the school with me. I was kicked out of the school the same day by my principal, who decided to call the police stating that I am trying to disturb the school premises by my “nonsense”. I was forced to write an FIR depicting everything that happened.
This fight was no longer limited to me, it was intensified because of the humiliation my mother faced. I approached the Education Ministry daily, in the midst of suffering from depression and anxiety. My friends and classmates were strictly told that if they tried to side with me, speak up or even contact me they won’t be given the streams of their choice.
Post-exams, I left that school and I promised myself that I would never turn back. A teacher didn’t miss the opportunity to make fun of me and she promised me that I won’t get into any good school or university. She said that I would be a shame and a burden to my family.
Well, Ma’am, here I am. I went to one of the best schools in Delhi. Got into the second best college of Delhi University. Passed the 12th standard with grades that were good enough to get into DU. Your bad wishes and cursing pushed me to where I am today.
5) Slut-shamed for having male friends
Rev. Sister Matilda should have known that the boy commenting on my picture wasn’t my boyfriend and that being friends with boys was not a character hazard. That dress she called short and cheap was the dress my parents bought me on my birthday. I’ve worn it almost everywhere. I wore it because I liked it – not because I liked “flaunting my flesh”, as she put it.
My parents know that I’m on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. My mom checks on me regularly but doesn’t invade my privacy. Sister Matilda had no right to interfere in my life and violate my privacy. She does not get to do whatever she wants in the name of safety.
Why couldn’t she instead have helped students find safer and trusted ways of communication? After all, not having a brain is not a way to prevent brain cancer, right? Had she believed in education and instruction instead of prohibition, St Anthony’s would’ve been a better place. The number of hair clips on my head doesn’t evaluate my level of discipline.
I had even made a Teachers’ Day card for her. I liked her. I cried for days after she called my parents and told them that I was not a “dignified daughter of the family and an obedient student of the school”. I ran away instead of facing her because I knew she wouldn’t understand. I’m saying all this now because I wasn’t strong enough to have these answers at that particular moment. I’m ashamed that I ran away, but I was left with no choice.
Also Read: How I Was Traumatized At My Catholic Co-Ed School | #ChalkfullBullying
Featured Image Source: Justdial
I have studied in this school for 14 full years, and the journey well, can’t be expressed in words. I feel truly blessed to have studied in St Anthony’s Sr Sec School Hauz Khas New Delhi. Be it the the discipline or morals or principles, this school gave me all and even more that I could ever ask for. With the most amazing Sisters, Teachers and the Administration, I truly disagree with all sorts of non-sense stories typed in the article. Teachers were as caring as a mother and as helpful as a friend.
Just because a few people are in the habit of fabricating stories, I am sorry, I as a true Anthonian stand in complete opposition to baseless articles as these.
Every teacher in St Anthony’s Sr Sec School Hauz Khas New Delhi, has been working really hard towards the success of each and every child alike. And to the place where I stand in my life today, I can’t thank my Alma mater enough for it.
You sound exactly like the bullies of this pathetic school.
I’m from batch 2015-16. And I was scolded endless no. of times too, even slapped twice when i was in 3rd and 4th grade for no such major reason. But those just made me a better person.
I was given strong criticisms? I became tolerating and more careful.
I wasn’t given a chance to complain or seek support? I became strong and independent.
Small mistakes but huge scolding? I learned how small things matter and how huge it’s impact can be.
If I could I would type endless ways my school and it’s faculty moulded me into the person I’m happy to be today.
Sure all those ways weren’t pretty, yes they used old traditional ways to discipline us but back then that’s how it worked for majority above that it’s a convent school what do you expect?
I don’t know what went so wrong for some but I will not criticise them or stand against, because one, majority of them didn’t even speak against the school but a certain person in it and second, even if it was for the school as a whole then I would say it’s just how you perceive things which is different for all.
I THINK ADMIN SHOULD BE MORE CAREFUL BEFORE POSTING SUCH A POST ABOUT AN INSTITUTION THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS PEOPLE RESPECT RATHER THAN SHAMING IT BLINDLY BASED ON 3-4 BAD EXPERIENCES WHO DIDN’T EVEN WRITE IT FOR THE SCHOOL AS A WHOLE IN THE FIRST PLACE.
It saddens my heart to read this. I’m glad these students were able to express themselves, but the writer and the publisher trying to generalise it as everyone’s experience is wrong. I have spent 14 years of my life in this institution and I couldn’t be prouder. I can’t tell you the number of times I was scolded, this one time was I scolded by two teachers for 20 minuets for accidentally wearing a gold chain to school as a teenager I was like why the hell is it such a big deal, but later when I asked one of those teachers why they were so harsh, she pointed out that had I miss placed the chain the school would be blamed. This incident only made be more responsible. This other time I too was scolded to no end for forgetting to bring something to school and once again as a teenager I was resentful but as an adult I realise that because of that incident every time I leave home I have everything that I need, it made me a better person.
Let me mention another incident, a few of my classmates on the way back from a school trip directed some unnecessary comments on a couple riding on a bike. The couple was absolutely furious and stopped the bus and guess who received the full extend of their scorn, the teachers!! The teachers blatantly defended the students, however once in school their parents were called and I’m sure they out an ear full. Are you telling the me that the students should not be disciplined when required?
I’m not trying to belittle the experience of the persons who expressed their experience in this article, but unfortunately it’s only one side of the story. I think once you leave the school there needs to be an more open channel of communication between the school and the ex students.
P.S. If teachers were do an expose on the kind of thing they have seen the students do, it might make for a more interesting read.
Teachers don’t speak up. They just stand their like dummies for the fear of being fired!
Having spent 14 years in this very school I am compelled to say that neither my ex or present principal nor my school staffs will ever do anything that will hurt religious or cultural sentiment. Having known what really happened in few cases n after reading their manipulated side of story makes me feel disgusted for them. Every student has a some bitter n sweet stories related to their school life, no one’s had an ideal school life. No school is perfect because it is run by people n no person is perfect everyone has their own imperfections.
Thus standing strong at the values that I have gained from this very institution i request the admin to delete this article as no one can blacklash a school this way.
Apparently, it is a matter of concern that students of your school are taking on social media to channelize their exasperation, which again makes it evident that your grievances redressal committee is not efficient. And as to the perspective of the writer which as you claim is manipulated, in my view is just a different one than yours.
Instead, of criticizing the views observed by the writer, you ( as in all the alumni) should report the matter to the school authorities, so that some measures are taken for the same. Further, the very fact that i was directed to this page by a facebook post by one of you alumnus, is the perfect display of lack of patriotism towards your alma mater.
The comment mentions about how students were made to sit near dustbins; frankly we (at our school) used these moments to prank in the classroom (as they were usually placed near the black boards) – it’s all about sportsmanship, which of course comes when the environment within the school is not biased and more appeasing.
As to why this write up should not be deleted any sooner – it is the very basis of a democracy i.e. the self correcting system by opposing/opposition.If this article makes a change in the administrative policies of the school (as this is not the first or the second of the kind) it will only help the school to raise to a greater glory.
A classmate of mine was stopped from covering her head by Miss Sahni (I hope you know her )and no one took a step to defend her. Her mother had to visit school and beg to our respected principal in the name of religion.
Can I please get in touch with the writer of this article?
I’ve been this school’s favourite target for 10 years. From having a white cloth rubbed on my face multiple times as a kid by certain teachers to see whether I was wearing foundation because probably my so called fairness didn’t seem normal to them. To being told if I wish to continue in this school I need to learn to say “Amen” instead of “Aameen” (how Muslims say, which literally means the same thing). From having my mother humiliated multiple times, her hijab was being pulled of by few teachers and she was asked the leave “their” country. This school gave me immense pain in my heart. Namely 5-6 teachers who really disappointed me in the name of teachers or gurus as we’ve been taught. They failed to be any. From being forced to sit on the floor next to the dustbin multiple times for days and weeks in the first grade because I understood no language because I was coming from a very different country. I didn’t know A for Apple B for ball. Non I knew. Yet I was treated that way.
I’ve no shame in saying this my mother is someone whose probably waaaayyy more educated than most of the teachers here or maybe all of them yet she was humiliated.
People please, let’s not talk about others lying or cooking up. Please. All we can do as women is have sympathy, empathy and understanding towards each other.
Yes maybe some of you had an amazing time for which I’m really happy but let’s give each other space and room. All those who had a merry time here never had any counterparts or difference in opinion with them.
I’ve been in this institution for so many years . And i have never felt any kind of humiliation on the basis of religion or clothing. I used to wear leggings with skirt for like 3-4 years and none of the staff ever questioned against it . Once a teacher asked me why i wear them.. then i said it’s there in my religion not to expose body …..and she replied to that “ GOOD YOU ARE FOLLOWING YOUR RELIGION “ . I also used to wear hijab whenever in ptms and some others works…..and in the end of my last year once i went to school for some work i was wearing casual clothes with hijab so Sr. Matilda questioned me why i am wearing casuals but then she also pat me ,which shows they can’t disgrace anyone for their clothes. So i can’t say the staff can do anything horrendous like pulling hijab . Yes they scold us but that is just for our benefits and i think to be strong to face this world.
The school’s motto says it all ‘Peace and Well-being’ clearly indicative of the guiding principles that the school strongly beliaeves in and follows. The environment of the school is very peaceful and the staff likewise have a very calm demeanour and cheerful disposition . The school provides a happy and safe learning environment keeping the well-being of every learner as their prime concern. The selfless service rendered by the sisters is par excellence. Rev. Sr Matilda takes extra care of each and every learner especially when it comes to their security . She has been very supportive , kind and understanding, respecting the individual differences amongst the learners , she has opened different avenues of learning and provided them opportunities to explore in order to harness their potential with continuous support , guidance and help. A number of educational workshops as well as seminars are held here which have been instrumental in facilitating the learning process and insight formation. The children in these sessions are greatly benefitted as they overcome their inhibitions and their queries are resolved through experts in different fields of learning.Under the protective care of sisters , students are prepared in every way to face the challenges not only within the school but prepared for their lifetime. As far as reinforcement is concerned , as a parent I’ve always experienced the magic touch that sisters of the institute as well as the staff possess, that has infused confidence in children. The trust has developed over the years which keep us strongly bonded like a family. There is no place for punishment here but a completely different approach is followed in reforming and reinforcing a child so that they never feel alone or left out. They are valued and treated equally and fairly. What is really appreciable is the collaboration between students , teachers , school management and parents who work like a team to empower the learners not only at the academic front but also in the inculcation of values in them. Truly speaking the experience here has been wonderful and we feel blessed to be a part of this institute that has been instrumental in where we stand and what we are today. Its really sad and unfortunate when we read such stories which appear to be one sided .It certainly relates to how you look at things i.e your perception (We see the world not as it is, but as we are).
Its really sad and unfortunate when we read such stories which appear to be one sided and aimed at maligning the name of the institute. Such things should really be condemned and taken care of.Also I would like to remind you all of the comments policy to be followed here and are you really following this?It’s really the need of hour to be very mindful of the words we speak or use to express our views.
Like seriously? If you had so much problem with the institution and its morality why didn’t you choose a better option for yourself? Why complaining and condemning now??? I have spent my 14 glorious years in St Anthony’s and in this time frame no sister or teacher or student or workers have ever slut- shamed me or characterized me. Every person has a bitter- sweet experience but that doesn’t mean you’ll question the prestige of the institution. I will not think twice in taking a stand for St. Anthony’s or my teachers just bcoz my teachers have always taught me to stand for the right and hence, I AM PROUD TO BE AN ANTHONIAN.
I am still a student of this prestigious institution and i am proud to be a part of it because you may hear all this nonsense about our principal and teachers and foolishly believe that it is true on account of some five or ten students without considering the fact that they maybe exaggerating . Well I’m not saying it can’t be true and I’m not attacking anyone’s experiences here but if the writer is writing something about an institution on auch a respected webpage then i think you better take the consensus of atleast a 100 students. Our principal on the other hand wants us to be a woman of substance, somone who knows how to keep the reigns taut. And for me my teachers have been the most important source of inspiration. So please don’t put them in such horrendous and despicable view. I agree they are sometimes too strict, but take a look back at what that moulds out of you after 10 years. And about those Tattoo’s and ear piercings… i think the rules are quite right because if something is not allowed, well it is not . You are free to move out. I know that sounds like im a conservative jerk, but no I’m actually known for my feminist side. If someone smokes doesn’t mean they are bad people but there are places where you cannot smoke, that DOSENT MAKE THAT PLACE BIASED AGAINST YOU. Hope ppl see the point.
If a person smokes that doesn’t make him or her a bad person . But there are places where you are not allowed to smoke. That does not make this place biased against you . Hope the person with tattoos and ear piercings see the point. Please stop talking nonsense on the basis of 5-6 people. Especially when you are writing on such a respected institution and on a respected webpage too
‘Only a tree bearing fruits gets stoned’
Yes! St. Anthony’s is being stoned, asserting it’s worth.
My dear children, holding the string of the kite gives the impression that it is being deprived of its freedom. But the fact is that, not only being held, being pulled down is what makes it go higher.
At St. Anthony’s we are entrusted not only to impart subject knowledge, which can easily be acquired from books and electronic sources, but also to up bring the young.
I’m in this institution for past 3 decades as a teacher. My daughter completed her schooling from this school. As a teacher and as a parent, I express my contentment about MY school.
Same time, I feel sad for some students carrying ill feelings about the school. Though they are very very small in number, surely not ignorable. I don’t condemn them for expressing their feelings. But I request them to do the same in a more matured way.
Are not these incidents narrated a bit exaggerated way ? Please think once more on the PURPOSE of doing it this way. Is it only to set the scores or an action of ‘tit for tat’?
If you really want a change, please have healthy debate. As you can see, many ex-students are responding in support to the school.
One word to the parents too. Our children are after all CHILDREN. Please try to heal their hurt feelings in a better way. Correct our deeds if found wrong, but don’t doubt our intention.
Also, think of your own upbringing time. Were you not scolded and punished ? Were you also ‘touch me nots’ like some of these children ?
These posts may force us to switch to a ‘NO SCOLDING ERA’ but our ultimate motto will remain the same -Welfare of our children.
My association with this school has been a long one and this bond has strengthened with time .I’m not only a staff member as well as a parent who’s child is studying in the same institute. Like me a number of other teachers too have their children studying in the same school. And truly I have never witnessed any unjust treatment meted out to any student in our school. We all work like a team with a sole aim to educate and empower our students with right values . With a dedicated and outstanding team of teachers our school is committed to provide quality education in a safe learning environment for the holistic development of a child . Not only does our school make our students academically proficient but help them in inculcating values as well as in strong character formation. As advocated by our Foundress, Venerable Mother Seraphina, :No sound character can be formed without the practice of human as well as religious values and no one can live a life of excellent principles and intrinsic goodness without a firm footing in these values and ethics.” We follow these principles and set an example before learners to do the same. The environment here is so warm and welcoming valuing each individual by ensuring maximum participation .This ensures that the potential of each one is valued , recognized and rewarded. Our Principal, Rev. Sr Matilda who has been a pillar of support, an instructional leader as well as a highly motivating mentor has been very supportive to not only the students but also the staff. She always insists on empowering young minds by inculcating values in them as they are our future. She always advocates that without faith in the Almighty ,prudence in speech ,sincerity and hardwork we cannot possess a good character. We never compromise on the safety and security of a student and for this we constantly keep in touch with the parents. The School management, our Principal , the staff, Students and their parents all work like a team with a common goal of enlightening young minds .For this our school has been conducting an array of competitions , enrichment programmes like seminars and workshops as well as a number of excursions are organised to give the learners an opportunity to explore things in real.It is really shocking as well as sad to hear such incidents that are one sided and appear to malign the name of the school . All these are manipulated and if there is any authenticity in them then why are the names not revealed ?
my god!!! the comments from the students who have passed from the school or maybe still there astonish me totally!!! well I passed out school in 1990 so i am sure i would be senior most right now!!! I am no where saying the school is bad after all whatever we all are is because of the school no one is either questioning the integrity of the school but yet i am sure that some of them have had a bad experience with the school just because some of us have been lucky to have not faced humiliation or insult doesn’t mean the rest or some of them would not have!!!! the school always had problems with girls knowing boys or being friends with them….they don’t realize that protecting them in school is OK but when these girls go out in the world its soooo difficult to cope with boys & a totally different society!!! instill values but don’t force what you have been doing with your lives!! way back the teachers in the school were equally strict n lineant yet some of them could you be soooo harsh that those who haven’t faced cant even imagine how it was!!! Happy for those who didn’t face all this in school yet KUDOS to those who spoke & a request to the rest don’t shame those who have spoken there hearts out…they aren’t fabricated stories!!! like they say…The day women start to stand for each other the world would learn to respect them too!!! & one more thing the girl talking about the humiliation instilled upon her mother is known to me & i know she is speaking the truth….had the school could be any school misbehaved with my mother or parent I swear i would have FUCKED the happiness of the school staff n the institution…for those who know me or remember how I was in school can understand what I am saying!!!
To all those people talking the side of your alma mater so bashfully, i think your comments are enough to explain how St. Anthony’s has failed as an institution. Let’s face it, we live in a democracy and everyone is entitent to their opinion. If you did not face any problems with the institution, it does not mean everyone had the same pleasant journey. I myself have been a part of this “school” for 10 years and trust me, if I had the option of reversing the clock and making decisions anew I would have erased the very name of this institution from my life.
Now, I am not saying everyone in the school was the same. As a matter of fact, I am extremely grateful to 2 teachers specifically.. Miss Sahni and Mrs. Saroj Chauhan. These are the only two teachers in this school who, I feel, have never looked down upon any student and have actually inspired me personally.
On the other hand we also had teachers like Ms. Agnis and Mrs. Reena Jose who were extremely biased towards a few students and treated the rest like untouchable minority.
As a teavher, most of the people forgot the meaning of child psychology and how each child is different from the other. They wanted everyone to be the same. I understand the importance of discipline and the need to enforce it, but bashing students in front of the whole class? Sure it must have proved helpful for a few in the long term, but as a “prestigious” instuinstit, how could theg not know that this might lead to an inferiority complex in a few (even if the number might be small) ?
As a matter of fact, St. Anthony’s as a whole never understood the fact that once out of the school, we have a world where there is a significant number of male species and that for a healthy existence it is necessary to communicate with these specimens too.
I remember, at the time of inter-school competitions, instead of encouraging healthy interaction with the other students, we were specifically instructed not to talk to the bots, and anyone found interacting with the “alien species” was given a good and thorough “moral” session. I read someone saying that boys were welcomed with open arms.. are you sure we are talking about the same school? The one in sda?
The fact that students were made to sit on the floor near the dustbin is not a lie either.. and to the guy who commented above talking about stuff like “sportsmanship”, let me give you an insight… The same “select” girls used to be the face of the crowd everywhere..be it sports, dance, singing, etc..and you are talking about sportsmanship during punishment?? you definitely need to have been in a place to be able to judge the situation.
I believe St. Anthony’s was a prision where the students were captured and brain washed to act this way, eat this way, sit this way, walk this way, etc..
Creativity was not encouraged, although some new ideas (by only the bunch of select students mentioned above) were entertained for sure.
Students performing average or below average in academics were treated like the absolute minority.
As my personal experience, when I had the choice of changing the school, i grabbed the opportunity at the very first go and felt relieved instantly. However I had absolutely no experience of interacting with the male species, because in this school, they treated males as a taboo and the topic of any man was not entertained at all..unless he was Jesus ofcourse. And added to this was the fact that I had not been a part of social media either. So every man I talked to, even in the new school, I used to eye them suspiciously, watching for each of their moves. I wasn’t able to develop as per the society and it took me a while to understand the fact that not every man is a rapist (this “fact” was inculcated by the”school”).
I am not trying to prove the “happy students” wrong.
All I am saying is that just because you did not face it, doesn’t mean all those people who did are lying. Let’s appreciate the fact that these students were able to come out in the public about their experiences and that they have been able to cope up with the negativity in their lives and move on as happy individuals.
If you found roses, let’s not prove people who found thorns wrong
Guys..let’s not try to prove the students who face d difficulties wrong. It takes immense courage to come out in public and narrate the difficulties one faced.
If you had a happy journey full of roses, sure there were some who had to walk on thorns too
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