TW: Mention of suicide, sexual assault, description of systemic ableism,
“This school has killed me. Specially higher authorities… tell ninna and bade papa about my sexuality and whatever happened with me. And please try to handle them… You are wonderful, strong, beautiful and amazing. Don’t care what relatives say…” reads a suicide note written by a 16-year-old student of DPS Faridabad. The student succumbed to homophobic harassment and ableism he had been facing for a while at school on Wednesday. The note describes several incidents of the school overlooking incidents such as a science teacher refusing assistance and academic aid he needed to perform well, given his dyslexia.
Student’s mother has since pointed out that her child was also sexually assaulted on the school campus.
Social media has been abuzz since the news came out with people demanding action by the school. Several users also call out the government’s failures in being able to foster an affirming environment for queer children. People point out how dropping the sensitisation manual from the curriculum by NCERT was a step in the wrong direction.
The school authority’s response has been less than satisfactory. They claim that no harassment happened in the school and term every complaint mentioned in the suicide note as a personal issue of the late student.
The response does not even address the incident of ableist harassment perpetuated by a teacher and instead says that the student merely struggled to get a scribe.
The ableism faced by the student has mostly gone unnoticed by everyone, including those expressing their outrage online. Studies have shown that adolescents with dyslexia are three times more likely to try killing themselves than their peers. The note says that the child was trying to seek help with numericals in his science paper from his teacher when she accused him of unfairly leveraging his disability. This narrative has been long used to gaslight disabled people asking for bare minimum assistance in order to perform basic tasks in day-to-day life.
The incident is part of a long line of issues raised about the Indian schooling system, wherein it has failed a capable student full of life, simply because they didn’t fit the existing norm and the school authorities couldn’t be bothered to make educational spaces livable for them.