Saudi: School Locked Students In Gym For Unpaid Fees

An international school barred about 100 students from entering classrooms and kept them inside the non-air-conditioned gym for the whole day. Authorities have launched an investigation into the incident after receiving complaints from parents.

The school asked the students to stay away from classrooms for failing to pay their fees, which amounted to SR40,000. Parents have urged authorities through the social media networks to punish the school for taking this unhealthy and provocative action.

One parent expressed his indignation over the incident and said, “I have paid 70 percent of the annual fees for my three children. Despite this track record, they have put my daughter inside the gym for the whole day. I want to know who took this decision.”

Another parent angrily blasted the action. “We have paid the fees to ensure continuous studies of our children. However, we expected the Education Ministry to intervene to prevent the school from taking such arbitrary decisions that affect the health and dignity of our children.”

A third parent spoke about the mistakes committed by the school since the beginning of the new academic year and blamed the ministry for not taking punitive action against the institution.

“The school has treated our children like the treatment of workshops with insurance companies. They will hold vehicles until the latter pay for repair works,” he pointed out. The school’s ridiculous action has damaged its reputation, said another parent.

“How can we leave our children in the hands of such a school,” asked a parent while speaking to Okaz/Saudi Gazette.

The director of the school has expressed her deep regret over the incident and said “it was a mistake. We have closed that file and parents have expressed their understanding. We have taken action against the official responsible for the incident.”

She told parents that the mistake would not be repeated. According to the director, the gym was air-conditioned and the school provided students with food and their condition was good.

Hamoud Suqairan, spokesman of the Education Department in Jeddah, said: “The department for private education will investigate the incident and announce its findings within two days. A special committee has been formed for the purpose.”

Khaled Aburashid, who is a legal adviser, said the school should not have kept the students in a room preventing them education and freedom. Legal action can be taken against the school if it was proved in the court. “Every student and parent has the right to file lawsuit against the school to get compensation for moral and material damages.”

The school has to follow other legal methods to get arrears from parents.

Fahd Mahboub, another legal adviser, opposed the school’s inhuman action against students without considering their age and health conditions.

The school, on the other hand, has to take legal measures to get upaid fees and other financial dues from parents. “The ministry has urged schools quite often that they should not link between late fees with education. They should not deny students studies and books.”

However, he said schools can keep certificates of students and other documents until they pay all financial dues. “In this case, parents will have the right to take legal action against the school to get compensation for moral and material damages caused by the incident,” he added.

 

Source Credit: Saudi Gazette

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