Alifiya Khan | April 13, 2017

Source : The Indian Express

The decision to let Freese continue came only after the school witnessed high drama throughout Wednesday.

After protests by parents, students and former students of The Bishop’s School — against the management’s decision to discontinue Frank Freese as the CEO and principal — the board of trustees agreed to extend his tenure until the end of the year. Freese has been the school’s principal and CEO for 18 years. He had announced his retirement during the school assembly on Monday. “… We didn’t get a notice about his retirement… later, we came to know that the decision was abrupt for him as well. It is disgraceful to ask a man, who turned Bishop’s School into a brand, to leave in such an unceremonious manner,” said Khadija Modak, a parent.

Most parents said they weren’t objecting to Freese’s exit, but the manner in which it was being carried out.

“There was no notice, no farewell from the school… is this how a person, who nurtured our students and the school, supposed to be treated,” asked Sonia Patil, the parent of a former student. However, the decision to let Freese continue came only after the school witnessed high drama throughout Wednesday. At 9 am on Wednesday, parents and students started gathering at the school ground opposite The Bishop’s School in Camp, right before a meeting of the board of trustees was about to start at 10 am. Within half-an-hour, impatient students and parents, who had been denied entry, started banging on the school gate, demanding to be let in. The parents banged on the gate even as they were surrounded by policemen, who had been called in by the school management.

Freese came out to address the parents and said he had been given a verbal assurance about staying on. But the irate parents, demanding to hear the reassurance from the board members themselves, stayed put. By 2.30 pm, the situation took a violent turn when clashes broke out between some parents and students, and school staffers who tried to prevent them from entering the meeting hall. Even after police put an end to the clashes, the parents refused to leave. Some of the parents sustained injuries in the clashes. Finally, at 5 pm, Freese came out again, and told the parents that he had been given an extension until December 31, 2017. The announcement was greeted with applause and cheers; some members of the crowd also burst firecrackers.

“About two years ago, the board had discussed this issue with me and it was decided that I would retire by the end of this academic year. But since then, we have had several meetings and the issue never came up… so, when I was recently told about it, it was a little abrupt for me as well. However, the board has decided to keep me on till December 31, 2017…,” said Freese. The board has decided that Joel Edwin, headmaster of Camp school, would take over as the principal after Freese. In an official statement signed by the headmaster, the school management said the governing body, in its meeting on April 12, has considered the request of Frank Freese and re-appointed him as principal until December 31, 2017, after which Joel Edwin will take charge.