2 Teachers of Top Chennai School Accused of Sexual Abuse Suspended
The chemistry teacher and basketball coach of a top school in Chennai, accused of sexual abuse, have been suspended.
The chemistry teacher and basketball coach of a reputable school in Chennai were suspended on Friday, 4 June, following allegations of sexual harassment levelled against them by students.
The State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (SCPCR) had issued a summons on 30 May, to the administrators and teachers from the schools. On May 3, The Quint had published a story on the allegations against the school’s chemistry teacher, the swimming coach assistant, the basketball coach and the chemistry lab assistant that date back to as early as the 1990s batch of the institution.
At least 30 students had sent individual complaints to the principal and formally complained to the school’s sexual harassment (grievance redressal) committee two weeks before the summons was issued. They had received only an acknowledgement.
The students who had mailed the complaints were sent individual responses informing them about the suspension and that the school had reconstituted the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Committee, headed by the principal and seven other members. The committee will now deal with the complaints from students, alumni and parents, under the POCSO Act, 2012, and initiate proceedings accordingly.
The students have been intimated that they may be called in for recording official statements and that their identities will be protected.
Students Demand a Child Safety Policy
The alumni of the school, in a strongly worded petition, had urged the management to immediately constitute an enquiry committee or make use of the existing sexual harassment (grievance redressal) committee to determine the veracity of the allegations and take stringent action against the alleged harassers. They had even sent a letter with 1,000 signatures asking for a revamp of the ‘sexist’ culture in certain aspects. The management has not reverted yet.
Alumni told The Quint that a suspension isn’t merely enough and they want legal action taken against the alleged abusers.
“We are aware that getting evidence in these cases is not possible because they took place long ago. So, we are not sure what stern legal action can be taken. Anyway, these teachers need be dismissed and the school has to implement a child safety policy to ensure such incidents do not happen again,” said a student to The Quint.
Teachers Accused of Groping, Demanding Sexual Favours
Several students said that the staff members passed extremely sexist and casteist comments and made several advances.
The chemistry teacher was reportedly notorious for failing students and urging them to join his private tuitions.
“He would deliberately let everyone leave by 6 pm but make me stay till 7 pm. He even offered to drop me back home and would ask me to have dinner with him and then do the same thing with another girl the next day,” a student alleged on Instagram.
Another student told The Quint that the basketball coach had demanded sexual favours from her by trapping her in a room. “I woke up at night to notice Sir walking up and down. Suddenly, I felt a hand on my chest. He groped me very hard. I was shocked. I remember thinking at that time how a person I trusted so much was doing this to me,” she said.
Several other students accused the coach of pinching and grabbing their breasts, waists and buttocks during practice sessions.
He allegedly targeted students who came from troubled homes – children with single parents and those struggling with serious health disorders. He reportedly had a lot of influence at school because the school’s team was regularly winning laurels and he was celebrated for his dedication.
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