The Sunday Leader

S. Thomas’ College Prefects Assault Fellow Thomian

Attorney-at-Law Nalin Laduwahetty telephoned the Chairman of The Sunday Leader, Lal Wickrematunge repeatedly in an attempt to stop this newspaper from running this story – even pushing for an afternoon meeting at the Royal Colombo Golf Club, Friday.  His request was politely declined.

  • Head Prefect’s Father Nalin Laduwahetty Pressures The Sunday Leader
  • Seventeen Prefects Cause Serious Bodily Harm On A Junior Prefect

By Vimukthi Yapa

Seventeen Senior Prefects including the Head Prefect of S. Thomas’ College Mount Lavinia were asked to leave, with immediate effect by the Warden Rev. John Charles Puddefoot, after having assaulted a fellow student, which took place in the second week of this month.
The student, a spin bowler for the S. Thomas’ Cricket team Neomal Wickremasekera had been repeatedly slapped in his face (as many as twenty five times according to an old boy of the school) and bodily assaulted in addition to being subjected to other humiliating “acts” where he suffered serious bruising.  The incident took place as a result of “ragging” which according to former prefects of S. Thomas’ College speaking to The Sunday Leader said is the “norm.”  Both, when a new prefect is chosen and happens frequently among the sporting teams of the College as well, they said. Neomal had recently been chosen as a college prefect and all new recruits according to prefects who spoke on conditions of anonymity, they said are subjected to ragging.   “The senior prefects are a law unto themselves and even have a private room where not even a teacher will enter without knocking,” a past prefect told this newspaper.
Romesh Wickremasekera, Father of the victim, Neomal, said his son had indeed “been badly assaulted”  adding, “action was taken against the prefects by the Warden and my son does not wish to pursue this matter any further.”
The incident led to wide speculation with Old Boys and students of the school maintaining the prefects had been sacked by Puddefoot. The latter unfortunately remained unavailable for comment with his office refusing to lend us a phone number the British born Warden could be contacted at. His office also did not tell us Rev. Puddefoot in fact was overseas and due back in the country only today, Sunday.
Puddefoot was previously Deputy Head at Eton College including Head of Mathematics and Honorary Chaplain before coming to Sri Lanka to take over as Warden for S. Thomas’ College.
We have one question for Puddefoot who boasts of an enviable 25 year record at Eton College.  If such an incident had taken place at Eton what indeed would have been the consequences?
Sub Warden Harshana Perera also remained unavailable for comment despite repeated attempts by this newspaper to reach him.  He did not even respond to a text message.
School Principals and teachers remained tightlipped over the incident insisting they had no formal intimation of the exact punishment metered out or action taken by Puddefoot.
M. D. Maurice, Principal for the Upper School when contacted maintained he had no formal knowledge of the incident.
Maurice however explained that S. Thomas’ usually has a prefect brigade of 25 to 30 boys chosen from the Advanced Level classes. He said it is a two tiered system consisting of college and house prefects. Asked if seventeen college prefects of that batch were still in school or not Maurice responded, “I don’t know.”
Michael Sproule, a member of the Board of Governors for S. Thomas’ College when contacted said, “I am aware there was a major incident involving the prefects at the school but I have had no formal intimation of what exactly took place and the Board has not met since then.”
Udaya Gunewardena, Honorary General Secretary of the Old Boys Association also admitted that he had heard of the incident but could not formally comment.

The Sunday Leader meanwhile came under intense pressure from the father of the former Head Prefect Vinura Laduwahetty to stop this story from being published.  Attorney-at-Law Nalin Laduwahetty telephoned the Chairman of The Sunday Leader Lal Wickrematunge repeatedly in an attempt to stop this newspaper from running this story – even pushing for an afternoon meeting at the Royal Colombo Golf Club Friday.  His request was politely declined.
Dinouk Colombage, a journalist for this newspaper meantime contacted and spoke with Laduwahetty snr, and jnr. including a few other of the disgraced batch who denied having been sacked, suspended or asked to leave the school with immediate effect.
Vinura Laduwahetty, former Head Prefect when questioned on whether the senior batch of prefects including himself, had been asked to leave responded, ‘We were not sacked, the school has changed their policy and senior students will now not be allowed to stay on after completing their final exams.’ When asked about the allegations of a student being assaulted he replied, ‘No I am unaware of any complaint against the prefects having been made.’ His father Nalin Laduwahetty insisted to Colombage that his son Vinura had a leaving certificate issued by the school on Monday February 14, which proved he had not been sacked.  Nor, any disciplinary action taken against him.
Trehan Ranatunga, another senior prefect no longer in the school when questioned on whether the senior batch of prefects including himself had been sacked said, ‘We were asked to leave by the school, it was a new policy they have implemented which says that students cannot remain in school after completing their exams.’
Ashwin (refused to divulge his surname) when questioned on whether he together with his entire batch had been asked to leave responded with; ‘I do not have a comment.’ The Sunday Leader reliably understands that among those abruptly asked to leave by Rev. Puddefoot were also the previous Water Polo Captain, B A C A Perera, the former Rugby Captain, Rajinda Gunasekera and ex Basketball Captain Shehan Gomes. Traditionally, senior prefects continue in their posts after having completed their A Level exams until the conclusion of the Royal-Thomian cricket match which is scheduled to be held next month.  Old Thomians confided that it is unheard of prefects being asked to leave mere weeks before the Big Match.
They all however unanimously applauded the action taken by Puddefoot maintaining he has lifted morale by upholding discipline in the school.  The question being asked though is if these boys will be issued with both leaving and character certificates.  According to Vinura Laduwahetty he already possesses a leaving certificate.

415 Comments for “S. Thomas’ College Prefects Assault Fellow Thomian”

  1. senevirathna

    These disciplinary issues are not uncommon among growing children and these should be considered as situations to help children to develop their “moral or mental improvement”. That is one of the prime responsibilities of the school as an institution of education and principals and teachers as facilitators of discipline. Punishment should be meted upon with the intention of correction or training (Soukhanov, 1992) and not with the intention of insult and ridicule.

    In this situation to what extent is the victim innocent and did the entire body of prefects including the head prefect assault the victim are apparent questions to any sensible reader. The manner in which the prefects were punished is no better than what the victim is suppose to have suffered, or worse. I’m positive in this case among the prefects there would have been those that were innocent and what if they took drastic measures unable to bare the insult and humiliation.

    Children are our prized possessions and they should be protected with much love and care and that I think is the responsibility first and fore mostly of the school as an institution of discipline and education, we as adults and most importantly of the media. A mote sensible act would have been to punish only those responsible and that too with the objective of “helping them to learn personal responsibility for their behavior and judge between right and wrong for themselves” and certainly not to damage and destroy their reputations. After all these are young children with bright futures ahead of them and one time the pride of the college and not hooligans.

    • ahh

      wat are u a UN dude

    • Lord

      Well said Senevirathna! In this modern era we need to eradicate punishment and shift to rehabilitate issues of this nature, especially when it involves our next generations. Thru mistakes we learn and all need one chance to correct thenselves. If repeated the course of action can be a suitable punishment.

  2. Preethi

    Low class reporting of Sunday Leader! The headline for the sunday leader paper should have been the domestic violence on valentines day of Paba and her husband! These are the national issues and women’s issues. Why were not these highlighted? Is it because loku baba was involved in it?
    Eveyone one knows why this article made the head lines. It’s all because of Nalin Laduwahetti’s son. This is the only way sunday leader and the govt can bring shame to Laduwahetti who is a brave lawyer standing by General Fonseka.
    Thomians such as Shaukatali should be ashamed of his employers who bosts that they are unbowed and unafraid. Sunday leader you are bowed and afraid to the Jarapaksas.

    • kumar

      Preeti or Not Preethi,the college has done the correct thing by sacking these goons.These so called upper class trash,think they can do what ever they like because of their parents.
      Your taliking about rajapaksas,arnt you supporting these types who one will oneday try to hold high office in Sri Lanka.

    • keerthi

      obviously u r a hard core SF supporter…these things should be given priority…why bother about a woman who can’t choose a proper husband for her self??? but these kids are the future…if they act like this now, i wonder what they will grow into??? yes maybe Sunday Leader is favoring the Rajapaksas…but who cares??? that’s not what i’m concerned…looks like u dnt have children to feel what it is like when your kid gets assaulted…if STC wants to maintain there standards this is the best way to do it…if that happened to my kid i would have personally killed those or done everything i could do to get them punished…i wouldn’t have stopped with just getting them suspended or whatever….they are obviously above the age of eighteen…why not take this further????

    • Dihan Fernando

      Well said, Preethi! This article is not newsworthy by any means. This was a personal attack and means of character assasination of minors, as well as their parents who might have offended the thugs of Sri Lanka. St. Thomas College prefects are in no way blameless, but these are school issues that should’ve and were handled by the administration. The Sunday Leader is carrying on a silly game that is only perpetrated against these students, whose names should’ve been left out. The headline of this article clearly shows the disdain and biased opinion of that is called Sunday Leader. Leader of what I may beg to ask??
      I was a College Prefect and enjoyed this responsibility with utmost reverence and diligence. There were times when students with disciplinary problems tested the metal of the prefects but the students respected the few prefects St Thomas College appointed.
      I guess the low life Sunday Leaderless do not know what it is to be a Thomian and have used an unfortunate incident to sell a worthless piece of information to the public.

  3. ncw

    Dear editors of the sunday leader,
    S.Thomas; College has itz own rules & regulations.. Thomians obey does rules & regulations.. People who are outsiders ( such as you all) can’t change those cause those are made by our old Thomians.. Normally when you become a prefect that makes you feel proud. To gain that proudness first you have to obey the traditions.. Ragging z a simple thing though you all take it as big.. All da prefects who were @ S.Thomas’ have recieved their ragging.. This z not a big issue to tell to the whole country. As Thomians we will settle our problems. Please be kind enough not to poke into others private problems.. thank you!!!

    The Warden has taken the right decission & he will make sure that this may settle in the right way.. So please don’t poke into others problems…

    • Daya

      Dear ncw,

      It is true that we, at S.Thomas’ have our own rules & regulations but they cannot run counter to basic human values and any laws of the land that have to be observed by other citizens. If you have something like the current upheaval in Libya it may be that thinking, feeling and moral people are faced with a dilemma. But here there is nothing of the sort.

      Besides which S. Thomas’ is not just a private school recognised by the government, but assisted(sic.) by it. Receiving free text books and government pensions for many members of the staff are benefits received which confer responsibilities on the school. And it doesn’t stop there.

      Can it be that you have so soon forgotten the uncertainties of the period before Dr. David Ponniah became Warden. There was actual Supreme Court intervention to prevent Mr. Eksith Fernando from being appointed Warden. To jog your memory here is the link to that landmark judgment which is to be found on the internet: – Cached

      I have just discovered that SOME readers who have posted comments have done a lot of homework. For instance, “Crazy Horse” has given this, and I have just read, carefully, the “Guardian” article:

      It is sad to note that two thirds of the comments are as silly as yours, ncw. Among them, “Welaya” wants the world to “accept the fact that S. Thomas’ is the finest school in South Asia.” If Old Boys make claims of that sort they must anticipate that the spotlight is going to be on us. But “Bystander” orders newspapers “don’t comment on S. Thomas’ because it is a very prestigious school.” Then there’s “Mensa”, the sycophant of the current president who sees Namal Rajapaksa as a model pupil. “Cyrus” is another fool.

      However, there are many intelligent comments. “Shehan” says this is “just a school . . . holding on to your school . . . even when you’re 70 is just retarded.” “Unbiased and Educated” says “College prefects were given far too much power and authority.” “The Unknown Citizen” makes a thoughtful contribution which reflects the dilemma we are faced with when the school to which we owe so much is subject to ridicule. “Gamaya” is eminently sensible despite the handle he gives himself. Pat Berenger has written brilliantly.

      A couple of ladies have each made a series of intelligent comments. “Geraldine” is quite right in stressing that “no one should judge Puddefoot on his experience in Eton.” We are concerned with what he is doing here. I gather that “Janitha Dias Bandaranayake” is the daughter and wife of Old Boys and speaks from experience having been a long-standing and dedicated teacher at College – facts that have been noted by somebody else, not her own boasting.

      However, much depends on who is elected as the new Bishop on Saturday, the 5th of March. In earlier posts I had got the date wrong by ten days. Let’s hope we see a renaissance of the school under the new Chairman of the Board of Governors !

      It has been taxing to read all this, and painful. We have provided plenty of material for social scientists to analyse. But may our beloved school emerge all the stronger after undergoing this painful re-appraisal of her role in our society. Esto Perpetua!

      • Daya

        It is important to get our perspectives right.

        This excerpt from the Wikipedia indicates how History will remember the Prince Harry episode.

        “Unfair Dismissal” of an art teacher (2004)

        In October 2004, Sarah Forsyth claimed that she had been dismissed unfairly by Eton College and had been bullied by senior staff. She also claimed she was instructed to do some of Prince Harry’s coursework to enable him to pass AS Art.[67] As evidence, Forsyth provided secretly recorded conversations with both Prince Harry and her head of department Ian Burke. An employment tribunal in July 2005 found that she had been unfairly dismissed and criticised Burke for bullying her and for repeatedly changing his story.[67] It also criticised the school for failing to produce its capability procedures and criticised the headmaster for not reviewing the case independently.[67]
        However it criticised Forsyth’s decision to record a conversation with Harry as an abuse of teacher-student confidentiality and said ”it was not convinced events had occurred exactly as ..described”.[67] In response to the tribunal’s ruling concerning the allegations about Prince Harry, the school issued a statement, saying Forsyth’s claims “were dismissed for what they always have been – unfounded and irrelevant.”[68] A spokesperson from Clarence House said, “We are delighted that Harry has been totally cleared of cheating.”

        Little is still the Headmaster of Eton despite this hiccup.

    • Sam

      I applaud SL’s publishing of this article. No one has the right to rag others. In this case it has gone to extreme. These prefects should be sacked never taken back into school or given a character certificate. This type ragging at school level is what get carried into universities and students even get killed or traumatized for life. Sri Lanka should bring a law severely punish who rag others. Not anywhere in a developed country this takes place. Sunday Leader keep up the good work…and make sure you publish every bid of this news! Well Done!


      Thomians have laws to uphold hooliganism?? Ragging in Sri Lanka is against the law.

      Now they are proud of their hooligan heritage too.

      • Ranil Pieris

        “one or two swallows does not a Summer make” the vast majority of Thomians evidenced by the content of these replies does not condone what has been done in the name of ragging. STC has no such laws and speaking for myself I am ashamed what has taken place. But proud that some action has been taken. Without knowing all the facts I cannot comment if the punishment befits the crime! More over it is still not clear what is the precise punishment but mere conjecture from a number of people.
        Facts as human beings we can never support assault of people.
        We cannot support the use of some boys from what has been termed a “prestigious” school being used to enact revenge on their parents. Thomians do not support or condone hooliganism in any form. This is not to say we do not have exceptions.

        • Dihan Fernando

          Well said, Ranil. I myself a prefect from the past will never condone this type of ragging. I remember being ragged the day before being appointed a College Prefect. However, the ragging done to us was in pure humor form and was did not include any type of physical abuse.
          Thomians are a special breed and some hooligans who give the college a bad name should be singled out and not gathered as one and shame brought on the school and its heritage.

    • Citizen

      Don’t comment like a complete fool NCW.I am glad that finally the real colours of this mental retarded school is exposed.
      The traditions of any institution are to uplift the image of that institution and act as an example. Not to torture fellow men or to persecute them by another group of prefects who thinks they are better than others and makes other lives miserable.
      Do not live in that fantasy world thinking Thominas are better than others. It sad to see most of the Thominas end up to be a bunch of haughty, undisciplined and arrogant citizens of the main stream society.
      Hope this will be an eye opener to the governing body of STC and implement necessary changes to correct the strayed mentality of this school.

    • Ayanthi

      NCW is very proud of his hooligan traditions. It is a great pride to be appointed a prefect in any school.Thomians live in this country and it is a great school that has produced great personalities, and the law of the land applies to them too..if you have ridiculous outdated brainless traditions I am glad Fredrica Janz ( who must be proud to be an outsider now) had enough social responsibility to expose brainless thugs like you. With senseless traditions and bad english too!
      Which right minded parent sends children to school to be hit by silly boys, when it is an established fact that even a master can not hit a student. From most of these responses I am glad to see that the majority of thomians are decent

      • Dimuthu

        Well said Ayanthi. There are some who say that if a boy can’t take this beating, he’s not fit 2 b a Thomian. This is completely sadistic, moronic and I implore those who ardently say this 2 hand their children over 2 b beaten up & stuck with candles!

    • Dhathusena

      NCW,You are just like the SL government.You cannot do criminal things and hide away saying these are our internal matters .Ragging is disgraceful and no right minded person should acknowledge any kind of ragging at all.It is a sick practise and I was subjected to horrifying acts of ragging when I was a student of Colombo university several years back. It is heart breaking to hear that even school children are not spared from it.I don’t think the involved students should be penalised in a way that their future is black marked from the very moment they step out of the school.That is not fair and after-all they are still kids. However firm measures must be taken to eradicate these evil acts which are derogatory to the whole country after all.From a well wisher Royalist.

  4. Fi

    well done !!!!! Mr Pudefoot, Teach the Thomians to respect human beings.

    • weere

      your reply shows nothing but an inferiority complex.

    • Fi sucks

      fi the only reason u said this this was because u suck .
      by da way u first learn to write proper comments .

    • Sam

      I second that, I myself is a ex Thomian…these prefects should be taught a lesson. Mr Puddefoot make sure prefects don’t have their own room.

      • roshan

        the prefect room has been there as long as collage has been there. it should not be changed.

        • Dimuthu

          It should b changed. by the name of tradition this cannot continue. And why aren’t these morons punished under the penal code???????????????? Hw can it b different 2 S. Thomas’?

  5. Anja

    if this is an investigative report effort should have been made to ascertain weather this incident was due to a personal vendetta or an act of ragging. Never forget that ‘you reap what you saw’ A background check of the parents of the boy concerned will illuminate the public of how other children have been victimized through their use of power, money & contacts depriving the deserving in many areas thus creating a huge amount of animosity towards the child as a result. The parents of the boy are completely responsible for this situation & hope will bear in mind that each child is special & should receive only what they deserve by their own merit.

    • Ayanthi

      Hello Anja, What planet are you living in? Even if the boy’s parents are responsible are they allowed to hit a fellow student? Why don’t the other parents take it up with the authorities?

      • anja

        i don’t condone the slapping merely commented on why this happened. The parents shouldn’t have run to the press to teach the school a lesson even after action was taken by the warden. merely illuminated the fact that this is not a standard ragging at college but a personal vendetta against the boy. stop blaming everyone for one isolated incident due to what ever the reason.
        this is not a day to day situation for all new prefects at STC.!

        • Dimuthu

          A) The parents did not run 2 the papers.
          B) what authority have you 2 say that this is NOT a standard ragging?

    • chris

      Correction. it should be ‘you reap what you sow’ not saw


  6. almatino

    Mr Pudefoot… I am proud that there are such brass with brains to steer the future of St Thomas` Shame on those who have upheld these practices and even boast of it in a form of self glory.

    Education institutions, its leaders and those appointed to be prefects should display better conduct and moral

  7. zzzzzz

    Janitha!!!…Please stop talking nonsense just because you did not get your way and basically got kicked out of College…

  8. Honest Thomian

    Ravi,this is in response to your quote “Two Picture Story” unquote comment.I agree with you that Rev Puddefoot is on the correct path to regain the discipline that STC was once associated with. His prompt action is ample proof.Thomians young & old should support him and shelve their personal agendas for the sake of a great institution S.Thomas’ College.
    Reference your 2nd paragraph . . . “St. Thomas’ College Prefects Assault Fellow Thomian” I am certain your NOT a Thomian.You cannot spell the word THROWING or understand the difference between INTENSIVE & INCENTIVE. Thomians at the age of 10+ would know it. We Thomians have on numerous occasions come across folks like YOU, who live in Mount Lavinia or in close proximity to STC and call themselves Thomians. Please do not think your a Thomian due to the fact you use our sacred chapel as a place of worship.You are living proof of such a dreamer.
    I have reliable information that the ASSAULT was carried out on 8th Feb. The Trinity cricket match was on 18/19 Feb.In this day and age when a patient undergone open heart surgery is asked to walk after 5 days i am sure 10 days is more than enough for superficial injuries to heal.The boy in concern must be COMMENDED not CONDEMNED for representing the college at sports and “holding the collection bag in chapel” after suffering such PHYSICAL & MENTAL agony in the hands of barbaric senior prefects.To my knowledge there is something seriously wrong with you and need IMMEDIATE psychiatric treatment as you refer to ragging as PURE FUN !!!
    I strongly suggest you read comments submitted by Janitha Dias Bandaranayake who had been a teacher at STC and resigned as the former Warden did nothing to arrest the barbaric,satanic acts and indiscipline of the so called mighty prefects. Also suggest you read comment by suvero posted on Feb 24th at 11.25am.I sincerely hope you can understand same.

  9. C. Perera

    I am an old boy of STC. This is one of the sad memories I have from college. There are 2 types of prefects. House prefects (after O levels) and College prefects (who have all the powers). The day before you are officially appointed a College prefect, you get HAMMERED. After you become official, you hammer others. This has happened for ages.
    Still STC is a great school but this is a very low class tradition in the school which we must get rid of.
    I think rather than Warden or teachers applying rules to this, students and especially PREFECTS must abolish this tradition of ragging new prefect before their day of appointment. Please make this happen guys and show the country what the TRUE THOMIAN GRIT is all about.
    Esto Perpetua!!

  10. R

    hey come on guys !!! lets keep up the thomian Traditions !!! we too have got hammered but we never got our parents involved in matters such as this !!! dont be kids !!!!dudes be brave be proper thomians handle it by yourselves!!!!!! ehhhhh its sickening to hear A /L students cum Col prefects telling there fathers ” dada i got hammered by our prefects ” hahahahahahaha………. this is a joke be proper Gentlemen without being kids !! BE THOU FOREVER !!!!!

    • Ransiri

      R the old boy. What a man. little weasel. every thug gets slapped and slaps around. it takes a man and a gentleman not to get involved in this kind of barbaric behavior. and to stand up for what is right .Well done little kid and his father. Ha ha haaaaaaaaaaaaaaa This must be the worst that STC and the country produced.

    • Dimuthu

      That’s what he was. he didn’t ttell – the parents got it out of him!

      And you are sadistic. Let’s see you giving your son to be hammered!

  11. n. mithra

    Good that you have an erudite Principal and the student involved is not a son of a minister. Look what happened at Roayl when a ministers son went berserk. The poor Principal had to leave.

    • commenter

      May we know who the principal who had to ”leave’ was? Such a thing never happened in the history of the College. Pls do not speak without getting your facts straight.

  12. Kudos to Sundat Leader for exposing the filthy, psychopathic, sick minded idiots in our schools promoting Ragging which, propagates to universities and other social problems including wife-beating, domestic violence, child abuse, etc. Sri Lanka schools practice ragging/hazing/bullying one way or another. Any civilized country has made these acts illegal and criminal offences punishable by law. Rev. Pudefoot has good mind to remove thesse social parasites from a presitgious School of Colombo.
    No matter if STC had its own rules or not, it is still an education institute in SRi Lanka and is subject to laws and regulations. It does not make the STC immune from the Law. After leaving school, these students have to enter the workforce to work together with others, lead the nation or employ others. It does not make STC leaver any more superior than one went to village high school.

    Our Universities are a mess and workplaces are full of harassment, sexual exploitation, abuse and bullying thanks to misfits and social-rejects like these who start it all and their “well-connected parents” defending such action.

  13. Seetha Wanigatunga

    I did not expect the Leader to go this low to make use of children to get revenge from the Father. You should be ashamed of yourselves. Nalin Ladduwahetty is a very brave person who stands by his client and who try to do his best by the client. So is it right to shame his child! Definetely this should not have been headline news. Like any father, Nalin has tried to interfere which I think was not very wise but when it comes to kids we are all emotional.

  14. AB Silva

    Homians Homians Homians – decipline your selves first.
    Is being Homian also a part of the ragging process to be qualified & pass out as a Thomian. Like all the prefects going through the rag, all the boys have to go through the other rag too and be a fellow homian.
    Hope at least Prudoff will make Homians, Thomians and make the future generations disciplined.

    • Dihan Fernando

      Hey AB,
      What do you know about these Thomians? While some Thomians engaged in activities that were unbecoming of any human being, it certainly was not the mass. Were you rejected by STC? Or do you know about homosexuals that you just had to get out of the closet. Do not couple the variant and obnoxious behaviorial patterns of some with the entire school of St Thomas’s College. I spend 12 years at STC Mount and neither engaged nor did I tolerate such behavior.. So, please take your ignorance, elsewhere!

  15. Free Thinker

    I was appaled to see the names of the prefects who got involved. Yes, they made a mistake and school took some diciplinary action. If the paper wants to bring the attention to this barbaric act of ragging at this esteemed school or inadequate action I can understand the reporting that part but not the names of the students.

    This is a a shameful act of Sunday Leader

  16. I was in that school between 2001-2003….. and i hated the thing called prefects…especially college prefects. They have no class nothing to do….just sit in there room and have fun. The only thing they have to do is bully the others and make fun…………………

    • roshan

      i think you are jealous and been just 2 years at stc i don´t think you are a thomian.

      • Dimuthu

        Then what’s he? B’cause he didn’t get candles he’s not a Thomian? Well done sadistic fool!

    • mandaya

      dis so callled neomal guy has peed on da door of the prefects room so wat would they do ?? the same thing that u woul do so they have beaten him not as the RAG but accomadate to show him the responsibilites why would he do that?? answer me 4 that??

  17. upali

    Prefects under the guise of tradition carry out a mafia style enforcement of discipline.A certain amount of harmless ragging should can be tolerated.The type of ragging carried out by the Thomian prefects is disgraceful.Some students had evan soiled their pants and had arrived home in their under pants.Sadism of any sort should be totally eradicated.The punishment meted out to the prefects is totally inadequate.Sacking the students and giving them a good character certificate and a leaving certificate is no punishment at all.
    Shame on all the Thomians who condone this type of activity.

  18. A Thomian

    As a former Thomian i have heard about this ragging of college cops when i was at school, I think this ragging should be put to and end, look at the universities, they are treating the new students like animals. I think this is also a case of ragging being taken too far and when it goes out of control these things happen. So it is a very good decision taken by the warden, I remember when warden Neville De Alwis (one of the best wardens we had) was there he had several students suspended for deliberately damaging school property.
    But this shouldn’t have been published in the papers whether it was politically motivated or not, there are much worse things happening at other schools which are not given publicity


      Bad behavior should be highlighted from a young age. It’s good to learn early not to get negative attention to yourself by behaving badly.

    • Gembidee

      As a former Thomian i think all of this is a fault of the college administration. If the students arent under mentally stable teachers and headmasters how can u expect them to behave in an appropriate manner? I mean how can you have a person like Vinodh Senadeera, the headmaster of the A level section not drive all the student insane?

      • Ranil Pieris

        If you are going to be personal at least have the guts to give your name so that you can face the consequences of your utterances .

        If only you knew the difficulty we (Sub Com of OBA) had in getting Thomians back on to the teaching staff in the mid 90′s. If you you have any awareness of what has been achieved by him. He had to be convinced to remain rather than take on the role of Principal of a School overseas. I may not agree with some of his methods all of which are legal!! but his results speak for themselves.

        • Daya

          Ranil, the five days that have elapsed since you wrote the above seem an eternity. So much has been said. Well nigh everything you have said has been intelligent and well thought out.

          Two exceptions but I only want to just mention them and then forget them. One was this “fifth generation Thomian” business. You would have had 8 great-great-grandfathers. If all your male ancestors from that time on were Thomians, the statement is factually O.K. Why don’t we just acknowledge that children have to learn (usually in a school) and we are proud of ours. In any case, you were not boastful.

          The other place was where you listed a lot of past Wardens. We must look to the future; let’s hope the school continues to be good. The most valuable thing about it today is that all communities meet there. It is appalling that they are not allowed to live in harmony because of these ridiculous traditions. I also wish we could be less valuable as bridge-builders! I mean, I’d be quite happy to see integration in all schools in the country. I wonder how many saw this:

 – Cached

          Chickera must be back by now and had his “emergency Board meeting.” Wonder what transpired? It’s the new Bishop who will have to sort all this out.

          About the difficulty of finding Old Boys to work in the school, that is mostly because everything is done so secretly e.g. the illegal Billimoria appointment at Gurutalawa.

…/male-nurse-in-boys’-school-gets-‘treatment’-for-child-abuse/ – Cached

          You have read all that Janitha Dias Bandaranayake has said. I’ve never met either of you. I wish I do. Well, who would want to work in such a set up? As for the airs some half-baked pro-ragging Thomians give themselves, imagining that they have a monopoly of English in the country while making fritters themselves, just see this delightful piece. Not surprisingly few have understood it!

 – Cached

          To me it seems that the Warden and the Sub-Warden are doing a good job with all these disparate forces against them. However, (the very sane) “Crazy Horse” has helped us understand how it is that we have been blessed with “an Etonian Warden”. What matters is that he appears to be concerned with the here and now.

 – Similar

          No Thomians have been Bishops; that doesn’t really matter. But let’s hope the new Bishop keeps the good traditions that we have, but brings order to this chaos!


      • Dihan Fernando

        This is funny! Albeit, a little unbelievable……

    • Ana

      As a Thomian I ma dismayed at the attitude taken by fellow Thomians. It just a case of killing the messenger. The Sunday Leader should be commended for what is done. The prefects are just echoing the attitude of the parents. Nalin being a high profile lawyer no doubt gets away with anything so his son follows the same path. Gomes the son of the a prominent gun runner feels that money can buy anything.

      • A bystander

        How is this of interest to the public in any way? What happens within the school should be sorted out in school.

        There are much more important events taking place in the country. Why should this be publicized?

        The Leader has only dragged in a bunch of boy’s who have barely left school in to the public spotlight. And in the process caused them unnecessary distress.

        The editor has used Nalins name for her personal agendas.

        You seem to be doing the same.

    • Akhil

      If this was not published would the school have taken action against 16 of their favourite students?? Why was action not taken many moons ago?

      • A bystander

        This article starts with “Seventeen Senior Prefects including the Head Prefect of S. Thomas’ College Mount Lavinia were asked to leave, with immediate effect”

        I.e it allegedly happened before it was published.

        Comment with reason!

      • Ranil Pieris

        action taken before article…… fact

  19. agadoobirdie

    Well dode ! Mr Pudefoot

  20. A Mother

    The Sunday Leader has chosen to have as it’s headline a subject that would interest a minute fraction of the Sri Lankan population. However by mentioning the names of some of the boys involved,much damage can be caused to all concerned, INCLUDING THE VICTIM!
    He now stands accused of leaking the story to the press. Therefore your article has only resulted in victimizing him further.
    The Warden had taken prompt action by the time your story came out. Therefore your news item is not of any use to future generations of Thomians either.
    Your paper has not considered the possibility that all 17 Prefects may not have taken active part in the ‘crime’. The majority of them could be taking the rap for the actions of one or two vindictive or violent fellow Prefects. (Most Thomians would stand together and not squeal on each other but take whatever punishment is meted out to them all, until and unless the culprit owns up).
    Extreme ragging is unacceptable and the boys were punished, why does the Leader have to punish them further?
    Is it correct then, for a national newspaper to use and ruin the lives of 18, 19 year old school boys to settle a score with an adult or to sell their newspaper?

  21. Lalith

    Hats off to Mr. Pudefoot. Prez. Mahinda has to learn a few thing about discipline from Thomian warden. How many times Dr.Mervin had his way and got away.

  22. amarabandu

    its great news,

  23. An Old Thomian

    St. Thomas’ College is a school now being run for commercial purposes and therefore this type of misconduct from the part of the prefects could take place. St. Thomas’ is clearly a business institution. It is no more the school that we attended three or four decades ago. The school fees itself show that the middle class Anglicans are deprived to put their children into this school. Even though this is called an Anglican school, it caters to non-Anglicans with good money. Therefore, the Bishop and the Board of Governors are responsible for all the mis-demeanor on the part of the students.
    One should not forget now the social and political conditions change rapidly and schools, too, get radically changed. Therefore, all that happens in a school is a result of the total political behaviour of the country. Laduwahetty sr. is part and parcel of the Rajapakse dynasty and therefore his son too has learnt the politic of Rajapakses from his father.
    The cop shed that was there for decades and decades should be closed down as one time stories were there on sexual harassment for children, of which no Warden in the school paid attention. A kind of a gay culture is visible in this cop-shed. I feel that this is similar to the prison culture in Sri Lanka where the innocent is incarcerated for the needs of the others with abnormal minds. Let me then conclude that the schoo staff should not select those with abnormal mentalities to hold the position of prefect.

    • Ranil Pieris

      History……Prince Of Wales was started and given to the Church of England (Anglicans) by Sir Charles Henry De Soysa (great grand Uncle) it was to accommodate those who could not afford the more expensive STC. The better question is why did the ‘church’ give it up ? Therein lies your answer there is a cost to anything – Quality costs more usually.

      • Daya

        I’m putting this long, long, article on so that Thomians past and present may realise that Eton, too, has changed. Our College must change, and her traditions must suit the society it serves.

        Yes, the school must, ultimately serve a useful purpose. Too many have commented as though the whole of South Asia (yes, one guy actually had the temerity to say so!) existed to serve the school and its “proud traditions.”

        History is full of many strange turns, but we must seize opportunity when it comes our way. It is, indeed, a shame that we haven’t been able to find a Warden from our own ranks. The reasons for this I have hinted at elsewhere.

        What is now important is that we realise how fortunate we ARE to have a man of this calibre and experience as Warden. Co-operate with him and his Sub to make this once more a school we can be proud of!


        What follows this I have copied; the fonts have got less interesting than in the original.

        The Royal Forums
        The Royal Forums Coat of Arms

        Old 06-26-2005, 04:19 PM
        rchainho’s Avatar
        rchainho rchainho is offline
        Heir Presumptive

        Join Date: Oct 2004
        Location: , Portugal
        Posts: 2,346
        Eton waits for verdict in Harry ‘cheating’ case Saturday, 25 June 2005
        It reads like a Tom Sharpe novel. The petty politics of a public school staffroom spill over with riotous results.

        Pretty soon the name of a member of the royal family is besmirched, the Secretary of State for Education is dragged into the row and a succession of comically named masters attempt to extricate their school from the ensuing imbroglio with varying degrees of success.

        Unfortunately for the world’s most famous public school, the tragi-comic vignettes that emerge from the reams of witness statements submitted before an employment tribunal – case number 2702463/2003 – are not the product of a writer with an eye for the absurd.

        The statements tell how Sarah Forsyth, a junior art teacher at Eton College, ended up taping Prince Harry as he apparently conceded he had cheated in an AS-level exam. They form a gripping narrative at the heart of her claim for unfair dismissal, which is denied by Eton. The verdict is expected within the next fortnight.

        For Eton, alma mater of the Duke of Wellington and no fewer than 18 other Prime Ministers, including Walpole and Pitt the Elder, not to mention alumni ranging from George Orwell and John Maynard Keynes to Sir James Goldsmith and Jonathan Aitken, Forsyth’s claims make for uncomfortable reading.

        Page after page of her witness statements, revealed here in full for the first time, shine a light on the cloistered world of the 565-year-old institution. It is a world dogged by claims of bullying of junior staff, where Eton’s hierarchy is accused of closing ranks to defend the school’s gilt-edged reputation, one that allows it to charge more than £22,000 a year in fees.

        Four years ago, the school was forced to introduce random drug tests after a series of scandals made for lurid headlines in the press.

        In 2003, the Office of Fair Trading began an investigation, one that is continuing, into allegations that Eton and Winchester were conspiring in a fee-fixing cartel. The two schools deny they have broken the law and decline to comment on reports they have attempted to secure a ‘supergrass’ deal with the OFT in which they will receive immunity from fines in return for assisting the watchdog’s inquiry.

        The chances are that Eton might have been able to prevent Forsyth’s allegations from breaking into the open if she had felt her claims had been properly examined by the college.

        But, in evidence submitted to the tribunal by Forsyth’s legal team, Eton stands accused of adopting a ‘gentleman amateur’ approach when it came to investigating her claims. Forsyth’s lawyers say that the school’s alleged decision to repeatedly ‘ignore policies and human resources advice was completely unacceptable … We submit that she would not have been bullied … if she had not been a woman.’

        Eton insists it has acted properly at all times but the claims have damaged the college. The school has done much in recent years to counter its image as an archaic bastion of upper class machismo. It has allowed TV cameras in to film life in the college and has played an active role in reaching out to the wider community. Diversity is positively encouraged, although the school’s size – it boasts nearly 1,300 pupils – has always meant it has enjoyed a heterogeneous composition.

        ‘In my time we had everyone from the Crown Prince of Nepal, who was famous for being the only pupil allowed to wear a moustache, and, more recently, for gunning down his entire family, to the school socialist,’ recalls one old Etonian who left in the early 1990s, at a time when the college still provided students with a coal ration to heat their rooms.

        More recently, Eton has forged links with schools in deprived areas and works at being seen to be a progressive, modern institution. The findings of a recent inspection, raising concerns about saucy posters in dormitories, was, if anything, a sign of how it had metamorphosed.

        Forsyth’s tribunal hearing has gone some way to testing how much the school has really evolved. It has been seen as a battle between an outsider and an Eton establishment that wields considerable power extending way beyond its Berkshire walls. Not for nothing is the Old Etonian Association dubbed one of the ‘world’s best trade unions’, for the way it looks after its own.

        At the heart of Forsyth’s case is her prickly relationship with her head of department, Ian Burke, who had taught at Eton in the 1980s only to leave after an incident in London. Burke had gone to the aid of a pupil who had been admitted to hospital with alcohol poisoning. It ended up in a row with a nurse and a police officer.

        The matter found its way back to the school’s then headmaster, Eric Anderson, and Burke resigned shortly afterwards.

        But following a 15-year absence Burke returned to Eton in 2001 as head of the drawing schools, as Eton’s art department is called. He arrived at an opportune time. The art department had just benefited from a £3.5 million cash injection, the result of an increasing number of pupils opting to study the subject.

        According to the statements filed at the tribunal, Forsyth claimed her abilities were questioned by Burke, whom she says accused her of favouritism towards certain students and excluded her from several meetings. Burke denies these claims.

        The relationship between the two deteriorated in the following months. Then, in May 2002, Forsyth alleges, Burke told her to write some text to accompany images prepared by Prince Harry for his AS-level art project. Later that evening, Forsyth says that she saw Burke and Harry sitting side-by-side cutting the text out and attaching it to the Prince’s coursework. Burke denies the claim.

        Forsyth claims Harry was not the only pupil who benefited from Burke’s help. During one GCSE exam, he allegedly told a pupil to change the composition of a picture. The following year, Burke allegedly gave advice to boys on three separate occasions during their GCSE exams. Burke insists that no such thing happened.

        What is clear is that by January 2003 Forsyth was profoundly unhappy. She claims she was was being ordered to work three weekends out of four and a 70-hour week. When she raised the matter Burke allegedly told her that she would not last five minutes in a state school and that he would ‘get her’, claims which he denies.

        For Eton the bullying claims have a particularly unpleasant resonance. These days the school operates a zero tolerance policy when it comes to all forms of bullying. Gone are the days when prefects were able to beat junior pupils, something for which they were forced to appear grateful. The actor Jeremy Brett once recalled having to say ‘thank you’ after being beaten.

        Such conditions made Eton the perfect incubator for generations of military top brass and those schooled in the dark arts. Without Eton, it is said, the secret services would not survive. ‘I was taught Arabic by a beak who was trained by MI5 in a listening post in the Outer Hebrides,’ recalls one old Etonian. ‘There were ex-spooks everywhere.’

        It is a parallel universe, far from the popular image of Eton as a quaint tourist trap, where masters are referred to as ‘beaks’ and new boys, bedecked in their distinctive uniforms, are universally known as ‘tits’.

        Indeed, for both masters and pupils alike, Eton is a tough learning curve. Former pupil Darius Guppy once declared that ‘prison would be a lot like Eton’ and another famous old boy, the comedian Hugh Laurie, said that his formative days at the school 25 miles west of London left him so repressed he was unable to cry when his mother died.

        It is a sentiment that might have been echoed by Forsyth who, by May 2003, was becoming increasingly unhappy with the school’s perceived lack of progress in investigating her complaints. Out of frustration, she says, she decided to record Harry’s now infamous ‘confession’ – in which he apparently admits to writing only ‘about a sentence’ of the text – as a means of proving Burke’s shortcomings. Harry is adamant that he did not cheat to obtain a pass in his exam.

        Forsyth also wrote to Michael Proudfoot, a fellow of the college and a governor of Eton, who offered to intervene. ‘He said that there was a lot of bullying by senior members of the staff,’ Forsyth claims in her witness statement. Forsyth asked for her concerns to be passed on to the new headmaster, Anthony Little, to whom she also wrote saying she felt ‘vulnerable’ and ‘isolated’.

        The school called in another member of the teaching staff, the Reverend John Puddefoot, to assess Forsyth’s teaching abilities. Puddefoot, a mathematician by training, suggested Forsyth should put more emphasis ‘on explaining how to draw a right angle’.

        Later Forsyth was to learn Puddefoot had concluded she was unsuited to teaching older boys. He described her as a ‘zombie’ and ‘at best semi-articulate’. In June 2003, Eton wished Forsyth success in finding a position elsewhere.

        Eton’s headmaster, having attempted to keep the allegations of Harry’s cheating within the school, had no choice but to inform Charles Clarke, the then Education Secretary, of Forsyth’s actions. They were to spark a media furore when they emerged during the tribunal as Forsyth’s lawyers attempted to paint Eton as a fusty, closeted institution that jettisoned her without following acceptable employment practices.

        Eton told the tribunal that Forsyth simply wasn’t up to the job and expressed concerns over her mental health, something that is understood to have deeply upset the junior art teacher.

        Sunday June 26, 2005
        The Observer


          I wish more critcs of the messenger[leader] read your masterpiece and realise what we have ended up with .Their jaws will drop.As to what happened at the Board of Governors meeting will be another cover up.

    • Jimmy

      There is nothing wrong with homosexuality “An Old Thomian.” People are born like that, and they cannot change who they are. However what I don’t agree is underage students being forced into it at St Thomas by some mentally disturbed prefects and Christian priests. Nasty things have been going on at the copshed, I agree. All these sordid incidents need to be investigated and the culprits brought to book. Now that would be in the interests of St Thomas College.

    • roshan

      dear old thomian
      please don´t bring religion into this. I was at STC my whole school life and i am a Buddhist. and I was also a boarder and we never cared what religion or ethnic group my fellow mates were . we ate together, we enjoyed together, we got punished together we did everything together under the banner STC .

  24. vrw

    Ragging falls into 2 categories; decent ragging and indecent ragging. All Thomian prefects have undergone some form of ragging like parading in infront of junior students with the College blazer worn the wrong way. I don’t see anything wrong with things like that.
    However assulting students is a serious matter. The Warden took appropriate action. During my father’s days at S.Thomas’ the Warden used to cane students including prefects for serious matters. That’s the how S.Thoma’s has been and that’s how it should be. The Warden’s decision should be final.

  25. kudu

    well done sunday leader this brutality in the name of ragging has got to be stopped .this has been the practice at royal and other leading schools in colombo
    Royal has got a very large prefects room where all types of abuse are going on
    The principals of these schools should take this matter very seriously and make sure that discipline is maintained .
    Hotshot fathers have no right in interfering in disciplinary action taken by the principal of STC and shame on those who try to protect there children when a crime has been committed.
    what happens if one of the victims reacts violently against the senior prefects and causes serious bodily harm or even death like in the university will the hotshot father say its OK if this happens to his son
    there is a major problem in todays schools thugs and drug dealers have got there children into leading colombo schools and the reality is violent behaviour
    like the royal incident some time back regarding the child of a politico who was suspended and bla bla bla

    • Commenter

      Please do not speak of things that you do not know of. The Royal College Prefects’ Room is, and has been closed to all but prefects and should he wish to enter, with prior notice, the principal. No one else is aware of what is inside. This tradition was not broken and it still remains what it was. No abuse can take place towards a child if they are not allowed inside. There have also been no report of such an occurance. Please do not make complacent comments if you are not sure of your facts. Royal College Prefects have not had such complaints made against them and please don’t make these incidents an opportunity to satisfy personal grudges.

  26. Samath

    Is this Sri Lanka’s premier Catholic school?

    • OZ

      they like a bit of drama, BTW more than half the students are not catholics. they are pretty boys who has new rich parents.

  27. Even Royal College has a room dedicated for prefects that no teacher had access to it, but the present principal changed this by opening doors to the prefects room. I am not sure if such traditions should be changed, but beating a student is a serious cause, and i am with the STC warden for taking such a strict action.

    • commenter

      The Royal College Prefects’ Room was never opened and it remains so, to date. There was some argument few years back but several elite old boys took up the matter and after much discussion, hings were left the same way. The room remains a mystery to all but the prefects and the principal who has once entered soon after his appointment,

  28. Dilshan

    Always thought that the Leader was a responsible paper who though of the people. But when you publish children names on paper you only make people think less of you. The Editor should have taken more responsibility. Bad show leader, there are more news worth items you could have used for a headline.

  29. A thomian

    Will the leader look into what happened to the Thomian who was tipped to take command of the Sri Lanka air force?

  30. Chivas Regal

    It is indeed a sad day for St Thomas and for all the tradition it brings. If any old Thomian is trying to make the actions of the 17 prefects look trivial by calling it tradition, they are sick in their minds. If the only way one feels superior is by inflicting pain on those who are in their authority, education has done little good to these old thomians. I wonder how they would react if their son was one of the 9 victims.

    I know some of the parents of the 17, nevertheless I congratulate Rev Pudefoot for taking stern action and hope he and the Board will remain neutral and will not yield to pressure from influential parents. The prefectship and any colors / honors / scholarships these 17 got during their career should be withdrawn.

    If the article is true, Sub Warden, Harshana Perera is indeed a rat of the lowest breed for having issued a back dated Leaving Certificate to Vinura Laduwahetty within the space of a mere 24 hours in the absence of Puddefoot. Being aware of the incident, he (PereraP had acted irresponsibly and therefore outside his authority and back dating was totally out of order. I hope Rev. Pudefoot will take a firm disciplinary action against Harshana and proceed to withdraw the Certificate issued by Perera.

    My heart goes out to the 9 victims and equally to their parents, especially Wickramasekera senior. Like most responsible parents he took his son to school and waited for him to be picked up. How hurt would the parents feel to realize their son had been set upon by a group of thomian thugs who are not worthy to be prefects.

    Not withstanding the motivations of Lanka Leader to give this news item publicity, I am nevertheless glad they did so as this exposes and therefore gives the opportunity to get public opinion. I hope the private sector which normally recruits from prestigious schools will take note of these 17 names. This will send a message to other schools (universities) that ragging will not be tolerated.


    • Objective

      Refreshing words, Chivas – clearly you are a man of good breeding. I too know some of the parents of the boys we are talking about. Romesh Wickremasekara, you are a man of courage! I am sure you had control of making this public or not. In making it public, you must have decided that it was in the interests or others, perhaps in the future, to expose the experiences of his own son, regardless of the consequences or embarrassment. I predict a great future for that boy. He has already shown his “colors”, character, strength and determination, when he saved the last big match for the Thomians. Credit is due owed to him and his father (and family).

      As for those trying to dodge the facts, it is all about taking responsibility. Sadly, we are not doing that as a group, as a country, and as people. You are not measured by your status or your job, but by simple things like your ability to separate right from wrong. To stand up for what is right, even if the one who is right is your enemy. To criticize what is wrong, even if is your own son. To think of others, before yourself. Romesh Wickremasekara and your son – you did all those. You WILL pick yourselves up. Some are afraid to fall. We all fall at some time or another. The strong understand this and feel that when the rise, they will be stronger than before they fell. Others will do anything to hide the fact that they fell. The Wickremasekara’s – This is what makes you “Thomians”, and separates you from other who “went to St;Thomas”. Well done – Esto Perpetua!

      • Daya

        Dear “Objective”,

        What Chivas has written is good, but your contribution is even better!
        I have put many comments in myself where I have tried to expose some little known facts AND suggest how we can improve.

        But your exhortations and the ideals are loftier than anything that I have articulated or even aspired to. S. Thomas’ can be truly proud of you.

        Tor you, and the College, I say,


    • Dihan Fernando


  31. CW

    I bet someone will find fault with MR MR & his sons for this soon. Unfortunately, the new Air Force commander is an old Royalist. St Thomas’ is not a Catholic School. If you don’t know don’t comment.

    • Daya

      MR is not to blame for this.
      If someone said ours is Catholic school she was wrong, but the mistake is understandable.
      This country has 1.5 MILLION Roman Catholics, and 35,000 Anglicans. The “Church of Ceylon” is “extra-territorial to the Archbishopric of Canterbury.” That “status” is shared by four other Churches, I believe.

      The name “Church of Sri Lanka” is being kept in reserve for the day when Anglicans unite with Methodists, Baptists etc.… – United States – Cached

      Please get additional information from an expert on the subject. But also THINK – who has brought about this situation.

      CW, you will make a very bad teacher; you should never ridicule people who do not know something.

  32. Jimmy

    It’s absolutely shameful what is happening at St Thomas these days. The school has gone downhill and there are rumours even of child abuse! One day these whispers will be all over the newspapers if something is not done about the rot in the school. It’s claim to being a Christian school is in tatters among those who know what is happening. One of the root causes of the decline is the fact that Christian priests are allowed to dominate the proceedings with no one to bell the cat. Some of these Christian priests should not be in the priesthood at all, as they are given to drinking, money making and molestation. The school needs a NEW DIRECTION and this can only take place under NEW LEADERSHIP. There was a time when St Thomas College was well renowned but unfortunately this is not the case today. Sad and disappointed!

  33. 2010 A/L

    I see that most students have a false impression about prefects in college. prefects act powerful and they are given certain amount of authority but actually i have found out that prefects are powerless after grade ten i have never allowed a prefect to punish me. i have been visiting the office continuously for “not respecting prefects” ‘ threatening college prefects ‘etc. these “aiyyas” are helpless when we show them some attitude. later they gave up… and i spent my last two years without even being confronted by prefects…BUT this did not harm the friendship between me and my friends who were college prefects… if senior students are harassed by prefects i blame them for BEING HARASSED… these guys are just students, why do you blame them now in public ? these boys who got “assaulted” are not babies… they are boys as big and strong and good as the seniors… cant they defend themselves?? and real tough guys who were college prefects i remember weren’t like this they were always friendly, and liked by students..

    i can also assure you of one more thing, the authority of school warden and sub warden always give priority to children and their matters.. college has the most friendly and helping staff a school can have. any student can walk up to the sub wardens office and discuss any personal matter and you will be treated equally no matter who you are.

    • Daya

      Yes, those who want to be “good” must also show some courage. Others can’t be expected to do your work for you.

      I’m sure there are many things about College that are really very good. As “2010 AL” says the Sub-Warden is a decent guy. If students don’t have the courage to be seen walking in to his office but go sobbing to their Mums how can anything be put right.

      Standard form (among those who are aware of the administrative structure) is to blame the Board. I have not done that. If you blame all 15 it is easy for individuals to dodge responsibility.

      Chickera is to blame; his successor is to be elected tomorrow. Please co-operate with him (and with the Warden) to help us move in the right direction.

      It is important not to be negative all the time. Let changes be made where they are necessary; hold fast to good traditions; show kindness as much as possible – you’re not doing that if you “rag” – and have the guts to speak out when you must!

      We love our school, may it go from strength to strength! May other schools ALSO prosper so that we build a better world. It’s not going to be easy after we have messed things up so much.

      The glorious history of the school we must be proud of. I pray that at this crucial point – with a new Bishop being elected tomorrow – we do not let down all those – from Wardens to support staff – who have given us the potential to be a near perfect school.

      Lastly, don’t denigrate either other schools or the weaklings in our own unless it be with a view to improving things.

      Thanks “Sunday Leader” for publishing everything – except possibly what is obscene. I understand the delay in approving comments. Someone has to read them!


  34. Tikiri

    What is happening at S Thomas College is nothing short of APPALLING.

  35. dabarahenwalakadagedera

    ah!……..storm in a tea cup!….. enough dudes….. Look out for the tsunamis !!

  36. vrw

    Why all this media scrutiny? After all STC is NOT a public shcool to be accountable to the general public in any manner. Its not funded on tax money like other non-fee levying private schools. Let the Warden of STC handle all disciplinary matters. Believe me, STC knows a thing or two about discipline for a school that’s been around for 150 years.

    • Daya

      vrw, I didn’t realise that there are such naive guys still around. Whether you’re living in “Cloud Cuckoo Land”, in Medieval Times or in Gaddafi’ s Libiya it is hard to tell. But here goes:

      In any civilised society, individuals are held accountable for any action of theirs which affects another human being. Where Sri Lankan schools are concerned, even what happens in an International School not recognised by the government matters.

      As for S. Thomas’ we do come under Education Ministry (or Government Control). Have you already forgotten what happened a dozen years ago? › … › Sri Lanka Latest News – Cached –

      We do receive benefits from the the State. Free text books, and, more importantly, a special pension scheme for teachers. Teachers who retire after working ten years at S. Thomas’ receive pensions from the State up to the time of their demise. If this were widely known it would be easier to recruit qualified teachers to S. Thomas’. But then, Thomians have rarely been concerned about the lot of the average teacher in their school and often refuse even to interact with them socially. The low status accorded to teachers partly accounts for their lack of commitment.

      The Good Lord has now relieved us of Rt. Rev. Duleep de Chickera who shared your arrogant views.…/male-nurse-in-boys’-school-gets-‘treatment’-for-child-abuse/ – Cached

      The Ven. Diloraj Canagasabey is likely to be more concerned about genuine Human Rights and Values.…diloraj…anglican-bishop…news...

      I genuinely feel that from this point on College affairs will improve.


  37. Shamed Thomian

    Physical and Sexual Abuse of young children is simply NOT ACCEPTABLE. S Thomas must do something about what is going on among its fraternity, else the real Saint Thomas will be crying in absolute shame! The first step is to sack the Christian priests who are responsible for the decline of the school and make sure the school is run by a secular board of CIVILISED GENTLEMEN who on the side of righteousness.

    • Daya

      Shamed Thomian,

      I say:


      It is 3.22 a.m. I am unable to sleep worrying about two issues: Libya and S. Thomas’.

      Yes, getting rid of the evil “Thomian Establishment” is going to be an action with many parallels to to ridding Arab countries of tyrants. If one is actually trying to DO something the choices one faces are difficult. Years later we may be judged as having blundered. Barack Obama is faced with a similar dilemma: he may be damned if he bombs Tripoli, he may be damned if he doesn’t.

      Neither Abidene of Tunisia, nor Hosni Mubarack of Egypt was not quite the monster that Gadaffi is. The Bahreni leader and Sultan Qaboos of Oman are trying desperately to reform so that they are not replaced by religious fanatics. The Yemeni leader fits in somewhere between Mubarack and Qaboos.

      Right now those of who are worried about the threat of middle-East fundamentalism are, I guess, praying that the Qaboos approach will prevail. Now, mind, even Qaboos’ security forces have had to kill two demonstrators in Sohar – but Qaboos, himself is advocating intervention on the side of the Rebels in Libya.

      I’m sure YOU understand what I’m saying; let me take a dig at the majority of Old Thomian contributors who condemn our “interference” (a word that I have heard Chickera use), by saying that few of THEM would even know what is happening in the Arab World.

      Yours, dear “Shamed Thomian”, is the way forward. It’s good that Chickera has two months more as Vicar-General; I want him to fully understand the harm he has done to S. Thomas’.

      These two months will also give Dilo Canagasabey time to formulate a plan to rescue these schools. After all what is the Anglican Church in Ceylon doing with all the vast resources it commands except running some of Sri Lanka’s most prestigious schools? I’m sure Fr. Dilo is studying all these comments. The phrase “on the side of righteousness” that you have used clearly indicates that you have a good understanding of Real Christianity.

      The alternative to reform from within the Church, under the guidance of a brand new Bishop, may be a take-over by the Rajapakshas. Namal will say that he was the Rugby captain and either run the school himself as “Minister for S. Thomas’”, or he may run it by proxy. I’m sure the thought must already have entered the minds of the Royal Family.

      Thanks, “Shamed Thomian”, you have made just the sort of comment I had hoped somebody would make.


  38. Daya

    I’m giving this link for the benefit of those Anglophile Thomians who imagine that they will be accepted anywhere on the planet as products of “one of the best schools in the world”.…/We-ll-chase-rebels-like-rats-city-city–Gloating-Gaddafi-thugs-issue-threat-regime-recaptures-key-towns.html

    When I saw this I was shocked myself. Not just the article, not the comments either. It was the nett RATINGS of the comments. Please click on the button labelled “Best Rated”; then click on the button labelled “Worst Rated”. There is, at around 10th place in the latter category, a comment from a naive Sri Lankan. He is my friend who had proudly sent me the link as soon as he put his comment in.

    What a careful study of this blog in its entirety told me is that Caucasians as a group HATE us. I wonder if they will realise that we Thomians are so much superior to the rest of blackies and brownies?

    Please note that despite my shock I’m not casting aspersions on the commitment of Rev. Puddefoot, on any of the other Missionaries who served at S. Thomas’ , or on Dr Albert Schweitzer of Lamberene.

    Going on the sentiments here expressed, the majority of Brits will want the Rt. Rev. Duleep Kamil De Chickera to be fingerprinted even if he presents himself at the visa counter at Heathrow in all his regalia including staff and mitre! What is even more unfortunate is that posturings such as his leads to all of us also being regarded as scum.

    What HAS Chickera done about clearing up the mess he has made of S. Thomas’ before he hands over to his (in this sense, “unfortunate”) successor?

    Unless we THINK and ACT quickly we will no longer be able to say


  39. Daya

    For the information of all Thomians:

    Such a lot of rubbish has been written about the spelling of the name of the school that I thought I’d better check with the official school website: – Cached – Similar

    I will continue to write “S. Thomas’ College, Mt Lavinia”, but if you study the website carefully (read W.T. Keble’s History of the school, for instance) you will find that “St. Thomas’ College” is more correct.

    A little learning is a dangerous thing;
    drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring:
    there shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
    and drinking largely sobers us again.

    Alexander Pope, An essay on Criticism
    English poet & satirist (1688 – 1744)

    It may be that I myself am proving to be too much of an Anglophile, quoting from an Augustan poet whom the majority of Thomians now living have not even heard of!

    Can’t the duffers among the readers understand that we have to be concerned with the here and now? Do you not realise that the days of the British Raj are over, and that the main languages of this country are “Singhalese” and Tamil? That this English “kaduwa” is something despicable and is the reason why so many non-Thomians hate us?

    Also remember that “The Colleges of S. Thomas the Apostle” is a body incorporated and does not “belong” to anybody. To change this status there has to be “An Act of Parliament” – I think passing it with a simple majority will suffice.

    As I see it the groups who have the greatest right to “own” the school are, in order: (1) the present students of the school (2) The Parents of the present students (3) The Board of Governors (4) The Old Boys of the School (5) The Honorary Old Boys of the School (6) The Employees of the School (7) Civil Society in Sri Lanka (acting through the Ministry of Education which has a Director in charge of Private Schools).

    I have heard the Rt. Rev. Duleep Kamil de Chickera asking Old Boys not to “interfere” in the running of the school, and that the BOG “owns” the school. Rubbish. Chickera is intelligent, an intellectual, educated, qualified, cultured, well-mannered, computer literate, shrewd, intellectually dishonest, arrogant, dictatorial, megalomaniacal, a control freak, and an absolute humbug.

    Chickera regularly browses the internet. During the last month I must have put in at least fifty comments. Where are Chickera’s responses or a court summons to me for libel owing to my slandering “His Lordship”?

    S. Thomas’ College! To the majority even of Sri Lankans you mean nothing. To me you mean a lot. I will continue to love my old school until I draw my last breath, and after that all talk about me and my “alma mater” will mean nothing. When the sun burns itself out, all forms of life on earth will be bereft of sustenance. Into oblivion will then go all human beings and their institutions. We will all rest in peace then. Until then, S. Thomas’


  40. upali

    the sacking of prefects was all a sham done by Puddefoot in the British way.All the prefects who were to leave college after the Royal Thomian ( Fifteen) were asked to leave college before the Royal Thomian and were given leaving certificates.Arjun de Alwis and Malinka Ranasinghe were the rascals who did the most ragging are still in college acting as prefects as they have not completed A Levels.This is called the al-Megrahi way.

  41. is actually that ideal write-up in my ownhead

  42. Simon

    As an old boy in the eighties St Thomases was a bit of a relec back then. The boys and masters were stuck in Tom
    browns school days, a bit above the rest, the school echoed of the good olde dats but the library and beach did us well.

    Any old school mates who wish to contact Simon Beatson please send email to

  43. The critical Lankan

    To what extent was the unfortunate individual assaulted? Poor reporting on the part of the newspaper.

    • Daya

      Dear “The critical Lankan”,

      Are you really serious in asking this? Do you not know what draconian action is taken in Sri Lanka against anyone exposing the faults of the “Establishment”?

      See what happens when you click this link: – LEN

      It is a miracle that “The Sunday Leader” is able to keep going! S. Thomas’ usually teaches students to be humbly grateful for small mercies when the powers of darkness are threatening to overpower us!

      Thanks to you, though, I learnt, just now, (in the middle of typing this comment) how we CAN, in fact, get through to Lankaenews via “Twitter”: – Cached – Similar

      What sort of sordid details DO you want, “critical Lankan”? Certain norms of decency prevail in our society – one can’t put what may amount to pornography in to newspapers! I myself was ignorant of current practices, and I’ve been shocked! There has been all this talk of “candles” – can’t you deduce? If you want to be titillated go to an actual “Porn” website!

      And as for details, the Obama team’s efforts to get the Osama killing story across to the public ought to show you that the clearest of statements are not enough for some people! Or consider how stubbornly Donald Trump holds on to childish reasons for discrediting Obama.

      President Obama at the 2011 White House …
      19 min – 5 days ago
      Uploaded by CSPAN

      Don’t tell me you want to be classified with “The Donald” and Sarah Palin!

  44. RED CAP


    March 28, 2011 – 1:10 pm

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Dear Brian,Good day !!!!

    Your article this Sunday was a long one, very interesting. We were not aware of these types of things happened in this so called great school and further more the article is quite illustrative. I share a similar doctorate as you have but my light hearted humor reminds me that I have been through the gates of a better school to yours up in Kandy .

    The article is source of information on the ragging system in SL. This seems common in all socio standards doesn’t it? In university “Ragging is exclusive for fresher’s and doubled if you are from a reputed school, it seems its different in schools like STC ,its tradition?? This should not be the case if its intended body harm. Value for a respective human being should always be the role model. Having said that we must not forget the contributions these boys from reputed schools give back to the community and the economy, like yourself has done. We also should remember the old law term – untill proven guilty” !!!!

    But my friend amount of pessimism is also aroused and blokes my thoughts of your conscience, because when watching through one of your speeches in Canada on utube – You have accused are armed forces -:

    You have highlighted that if you returned SL you would be kidnapped or killed; is it because you have accused our armed forces of crimes in one of your speeches? Or is it because you have accused Mr Gotabaya Rajapakse ? What would be your reason not return to SL was in my thoughts…..In my personal thoughts I like Mr Rajapakse. We as SRI Lankans should be happy that we are now free from terrorism, we don’t hear bombs explode, killings of innocence,….while are brothers and sisters die up north in battle for a bunch of sadistic terrorists. We should be great full to the people who stood up for us and denied a world of terrorism for our next generation.

    As such your article remains subdued in my thought, seems as something you wanted to off load from your mind, it’s questionable if there is complete truth. After all a person who always uses his name or the word” I ” in everything he does, says and writes is someone who has self believes of creating a illusion of himself and that illusion being, of greatness.

    These are just my personal views as it’s within my rites to exercise my freedom of thought.

    “The worst thing about medicine is that one kind makes another necessary”. ~Elbert Hubbard

  45. Rohan Jayakody

    Country has now gone to the dogs. I thought ragging takes place only in Universities where village type folk with inferiority complexes rag others. But shockingly this has crept into the top schools in Sri Lanka. This shows the pathetic state of this country. No discipline, even when the head prefect’s father is a very well known lawyer. Terrible.

  46. Ravi

    I read the article and the comments with sadness. Ragging has become endemic in the higher learning institutions of the country. It has now seeped into schools like STC. A newcommer who is defencess is targeted by all and mighty. This is the same political culture which is rampant in the country. Someone with a different view to yours is considered an enemy, who needs to be out down. The problem is the lack of high standards. They are all fighting for the lowest common denominator. I thought schools like STC should lead the way to do thing differently, stand as a beacon to society. We do things differently. No point blaming the children. These standards have to be put in place by the school from the small ages. Caring for a newcommer with kindness and understanding is human quality and to help him to progress in the right direction is a devine quality. Nespapapers are there to highlight these short commings, so they can be corrected, improving the standards all the time. That is how a nation and its people move forwards. Otherwise it falls into anarchy and despair.
    Old Royalist

  47. ranil nanayakkara

    As an old boy, any serious physical harm to any student
    is not an acceptable form of behaviour . The rule
    of law must prevail.
    The Warden did the only only thing to do in this situation.

  48. Christopher

    This is plain thugarry just as it normally happens in a lawless country such as SL. The country has” gone to the dogs” as one might want to say. Political killings sonssored by the government, then tie people on to trees as punisments. Then all those emulate Mervin Silva are just being laughed of by fellow politicians. This is why the world is condemning Sri Lanka on human rights (HR)violations; just because Sri Lankans are deprived and starved off where HR is concerned

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