Dubai: An Indian couple still grieving over the death of their eldest son who committed suicide on March 2 have got a letter from their child’s school saying he has been promoted to Grade XII and that they should pay Dh3,395 in outstanding school fees for the months of March and April within a week.
Sharjah residents Sadasivan and Ambika received the disturbing mail from the Indian High School (IHS) on April 16, over a month after their son Abhimanyu, 16, hanged himself in their Abu Shagara apartment building. XPRESS has a copy of the fee invoice sent to the parents.
Bizarrely, the 11th grader had skipped the maths exam and written a suicide note on the answer sheet of his chemistry paper on February 25.
“I am shocked beyond words. Not only have they foolishly promoted my deceased child who wrote a suicide note on the exam paper, they have the nerve to ask for his school fees,” Sadasivan told XPRESS.
The parents are also seeking a copy of the suicide note from the school. So far they have had no luck. On Sunday they approached the school regulator Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) which asked them to contact Dubai police. A KHDA spokesman confirmed this in an email to XPRESS. Abhimanyu committed suicide the day his parents were called to the school and subsequently informed about the suicide note. Apparently, the school contacted them when Abhimanyu didn’t show up for a maths exam that day.
“At 2.22pm, I got a call asking us to meet the headmaster. The caller did not specify anything but we set off for IHS immediately,” said Abhimanyu’s mother Ambika. “They should have alerted us about the suicide note on the phone. I could have saved my son if they had not wasted precious time by calling us to meet the headmaster,” she said, fighting off tears.
At the headmaster’s office the parents were shown their son’s chemistry answer sheet. “He had written a lengthy suicide note on the exam paper. It ran into several pages. He had written about how much he loved us and the pressures of the school’s Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) syllabus.
“The letter had phrases like ‘Dada (Abhimanyu’s father) good luck with your paintings… Mama I, love you’… at one point, he asked his younger brother to take his laptop… These are personal messages, the school has no right withholding the letter,” she said. Sadavisan said as soon as they read the note they rushed out of the school in Oudh Metha and started looking for Abhimanyu. “His cellphone was not responding so we contacted Sharjah police. At 5pm they found his body by the service room atop his building. He was still wearing the school uniform.”
On March 4 the family flew with Abhimanyu’s body to their native Ernakulam where they were dealt another blow. Unable to bear Abhimanyu’s death, Sadasivan’s father died of a heart attack.
A voracious reader, Abhimanyu wanted to become an IT engineer. His classmates said he was warm, affectionate and full of life. Yet Ambika claims they were not allowed to hold a condolence meet to mourn his death. “No one from the school came to see us,” she said.
The school, consistently graded ‘Outstanding’ by KHDA, declined to comment. However, following several calls by XPRESS, they dashed an email to the parents on Monday apologising for the fee invoice and blaming the ‘mix-up’ to a ‘technial error’.
The parents’ request for the copy of the suicide note, though remains unaddressed.
XPRESS has a copy of the letter in which they plead to IHS to return the answer sheet carrying their son’s “last death message”.
“Our lives have been virtually flattened…. the school has not responded positively to our repeated requests. We humbly request you please return his chemistry SA2 Answer Paper with his last death message, to enable us to get to know the cause of his death and the drastic step he has taken to end his life,” reads an extract.
My son was immensely gifted, he didn’t have to die so young,” said Sadasivan showing several murals and paintings when XPRESS visited their apartment earlier this week.
A bunk bed which Abhimany shared with his younger brother lay dismantled. “We won’t need it anymore,” he said.
Why is Indian High School’s belated apology not enough?
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