Top Mumbai school ‘discontinues’ services of principal over her social media activities

Mumbai, May 7 (PTI) The management of a leading school in Mumbai on Tuesday announced it has “discontinued” the services of principal Parveen Shaikh “to ensure that our ethos of unity and inclusivity is not compromised”, days after she was asked to quit reportedly for liking social media posts on the Palestine issue and the Hamas-Israel conflict.

Shaikh, the principal of Somaiya School in Mumbai’s Vidyavihar area, described her “termination” from the post as “completely illegal, drastic and unwarranted” and expressed shock over the “politically motivated” action.

The school management said her personal social media activities were not aligned with the values cherished by the educational institute.

Shaikh was earlier allegedly asked by the management to resign over her social media views, her aide had said on May 2. The management had then said it was probing the matter.

In a statement shared on social media platform X (formerly Twitter) on Tuesday, the Somaiya school management said Shaikh’s personal social media activities were “starkly misaligned with the values we cherish” and hence “given the gravity of concerns” and “after careful consideration”, it discontinued her (services).

“After careful consideration, the management has discontinued Ms Parveen Shaikh’s association with Somaiya Vidyavihar to ensure that our ethos of unity and inclusivity is not compromised,” the statement said.

The school management, in the statement, claimed it strives to cultivate an environment where knowledge leads to wisdom and “uplifts all members of the community, transcending small-mindedness and personal biases”.

“We strongly support the right to freedom of expression, yet we recognize that it is not absolute and must be exercised with responsibility and respect for others,” it said.

The statement emphasised the institute remains dedicated to providing a nurturing educational environment that honours and respects all cultures and beliefs, contributing positively to society and our nation.

“We believe it is crucial to safeguard the impressionable minds of our youth, and ensure they are nurtured in an environment that upholds the highest standards of integrity and inclusivity,” it said.

Earlier last week, the Somaiya school management informed the media that it had sought a written clarification from Shaikh and was waiting for her reply. The statement did not specify if the management received any clarification from her.

Shaikh, in a statement shared on WhatsApp, claimed her “termination” was “completely illegal” and she was “shocked to know” the news of her termination from social media even before receiving a notice from the management.

“My work as a school principal has been exceptional and my termination for such a reason is wrongful and unjust,” she claimed.

Shaikh further said she was “disappointed” as the school management “chose not to stand” by her and took “drastic and unwarranted action”.

“This action appears to be politically motivated. I hold firm belief in our legal system and the Indian Constitution and I am currently considering my legal options,” she said.

Shaikh had been associated with the school since the last 12 years and took charge as the principal seven years ago.

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