In The Last Year, Numerous Instances Of Teachers Sexually Assaulting Students Have Come Up. The Schools Have Ignored These
The word ‘school’ is defined as an educational institution where a child is nurtured and moulded to fit into the ways of the world. They’re taught history, math, science and a bunch of things that they’ll never have to use in life. Like Topography. Why did I need to know that? Anyway, anyone who has been to school can tell you that’s not all it is. Ideally, a school is also a safe haven for children to learn, grow and find their passion. But we don’t live in an ideal world. In fact, we live in a dystopian world where a few teachers and other school faculty indulge in child abuse. I say this after multiple schools have come under the scanner in the last year for sexually and physically assaulting students. It’s disturbing and we are bursting with anger.
Merely a few weeks ago, we spoke about a teacher working at the Padma Seshadri Bala Bhavan (PSBB) in Chennai. He has been accused of sexual harassment and inappropriate behaviour by several students and the school. Students accused him of touching students inappropriately, passing comments about students’ bodies, asking a student out, coming to class without a shirt, conducting an online class with just a towel around his waist, sending pornographic links and slut-shaming students. Despite repeated complaints against this lecherous man, the school was less than bothered until they blew up on social media.
Kendriya Vidyalaya, CLRI (@ClriKv) has set up a committee to probe after a group of 22 alumni raised sexual abuse allegations against a teacher. The letter by the alumni mentioned several instances of sexual abuse & misbehaviour by the teacher. #MeToo https://t.co/E0Orn34VYS
— TNIE Tamil Nadu (@xpresstn) May 31, 2021
Just last week, an uncannily similar incident came to light from another school in Chennai, Kendriya Vidyalaya, CLRI. A group of 22 alumni of this school wrote a letter to the principal alleging that a teacher, Mr Mahendra Kumar, had abused and assaulted them when they were students. In the letter, one of the students wrote, “On one particular occasion, he grabbed my buttocks in the middle of a class when I went to distribute chocolates for my birthday. This was witnessed by a friend of mine, who had come along with me.”
Another person said, “In one instance, he has touched a student inappropriately multiple times. He made her sit next to him during tuition classes and touched her in various parts of her body.” The alumni demanded that this teacher be suspended immediately and a police investigation is conducted in the matter since there might be a few current students as well who are being harassed by this perverted man.
These allegations need to be taken extremely seriously. This is a gross misuse of authority and power and it shouldn’t be tolerated. But alas, if there is one thing we have learned from both these cases it’s that schools are usually extremely ignorant. They try their best to sweep the problem under the rug rather than suspend or lay off the teacher in question. Apparently, the school’s image is more important than a student’s safety. It’s utterly shameful.
This next incident we are talking about occurred a little over a year ago, in February 2020, but has us fuming even today. You see, in Bhuj, Gujarat, 68 female students of the Shree Sahajanand Girls Institute were asked to remove their underwear to prove that they weren’t menstruating. Reportedly, they were taken to the washroom and asked to strip one by one before the principal and a few teachers. It’s baffling that even in today’s day and age women are still being persecuted in such a manner for menstruating. This is pure derogatory behaviour that can’t be condoned under any circumstances. Yes, women menstruate. Does that mean you can rob us of our dignity by doing a strip search? Not a chance in hell.
— The Times Of India (@timesofindia) February 16, 2021
Also Read: In Gujarat, Female Students Of A College Were Asked To Strip For A ‘Period Check’. It’s 2020 And People Are Still Offended By Periods
These are just three extremely prominent incidents. Let me give you another example of a disgusting man abusing his power. In February 2021, a principal of a Patna school raped and impregnated an 11-year-old student. He was arrested and was given the death penalty, which is amazing, but just imagine the trauma that this young girl will have to carry around with her for the rest of her life. In another incident, a 15-year-old girl student from Gurugram committed suicide after the principal of her school scolded and physically assaulted her for wearing earing and having long nails. Yes, obeying school laws is a must. But slapping and humiliating a student for breaking such trivial rules? It’s no short of child abuse.
Teachers are revered and looked up to. They are considered role models and inspirations. Hence, when allegations of misconduct and sexual abuse are levelled against them it’s baffling. However, serious and swift action needs to be taken against these predatory monsters. Just like most of the world, our school system is failing girl students and desperately needs reform. Question is, will schools leave their ignorance behind and actively try to safeguard their students?